Arthur Keith's Family Demands Civil Rights Probe Into His Death At Hands Of Cleveland Cop

The family of Arthur Keith is demanding a civil rights investigation after the Ohio Attorney General's Office announced no charges would be brought against the Cleveland housing officer who fatally shot the 19-year-old.

"We were told by the attorney general that they were going to do a complete investigation, and we know for a fact that they did not," Stanley Jackson, an attorney for the family, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Jackson said the family is requesting a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting, as well as into the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) police.

"We believe this is not probably the first incident. We believe that hopefully, this will be the last incident," Jackson said, adding he felt the review will likely "uncover some irregularities" in CMHA's policing.

Keith was shot and killed by CMHA officer James Griffiths on Nov. 13. The shooting happened within view of children attending an after-school program with the Boys & Girls Club, according to Cleveland.com.

A grand jury was convened by Attorney General Dave Yost to decide whether the shooting was a criminal act. On Wednesday, Yost's office announced the jury declined to indict Griffiths or any of the officers involved.

"The grand jury ultimately felt that Officer Griffiths acted reasonably," senior assistant attorney general Anthony Pierson said at a news conference.

On Nov. 13, a 911 caller reported that a person who had fired shots on a previous occasion was in the King Kennedy Complex. CMHA officers responded and encountered a van matching the 911 caller's description.

Pierson said one officer opened the van's door and saw Keith in the back of the vehicle with a gun. Investigators said Keith pointed a gun at an officer, who then shot Keith four times.

Only the CMHA officer said Keith pointed a gun at him, Pierson said. Witnesses have told local news outlets that Keith didn't point a gun and was running away when he was shot. Pierson said Keith's DNA was on the trigger, slide and magazine of the gun found at the scene.

Arthur Keith Family Demands Civil Rights Probe
The family of Arthur Keith is demanding a civil rights investigation after no charges were brought against the Cleveland housing officer who fatally shot the 19-year-old. In this photo, a police officer wears a body camera on during an anti-Donald Trump protest in Cleveland, Ohio in 2016. Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Jackson, the family's attorney, disputed the evidence in the case and claimed several eyewitnesses were never interviewed by investigators. He also questioned why surveillance footage of the shooting was never made available.

"Once again, this moment is a defining moment— an example of what we have in Ohio when it comes to police reform when it comes to accountability dealing with excessive force," Jackson said.

CMHA said in a statement that the grand jury's decision not to charge Griffiths "does not change the tragic events that occurred on Nov. 13, 2020, when a young man, Arthur Keith, lost his life. We continue to extend our sympathy to Mr. Keith's family, friends, and the community."

"Given the conclusion of the investigation and proceedings, this matter will now be reviewed internally by a neutral outside party to ensure the Officer acted in accordance with CMHA's constitutionally certified policies and procedures," the housing authority's statement said.