Saturday, January 3, 2015

Coroner rules death of unarmed Black woman Tanisha Anderson by Cleveland police while in custody a homicide, community activists fought for homicide ruling, family demands indictment on criminal charges against police officer that killed Tanisha, Tanisha's sister comments, family to file wrongful death, Civil Rights lawsuit

Tanisha Anderson
From the Metro Desk of Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Kathy Wray Coleman Online News Blog.Com, Ohio's most Read online Black newspaper and newspaper blog. Tel: (216) 659-0473, Email: ( / (

CLEVELAND, Ohio-Tanisha Anderson, the unarmed 37-year-old schizophrenic Black woman killed in November by Cleveland police at her home on Cleveland's east side while in handcuffs, was the victim of a police homicide, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner announced Friday, a finding that follows community protests for a homicide ruling and demands for justice for the unarmed Black woman and her family.

Anderson was  physically restrained in a prone position when she was died on Nov 13, the coroner said.

A homicide ruling in general does not mean for sure that police and the city of Cleveland are liable, but in Anderson's case, it was pertinent because it proves that police killed her, and that other elements were not at issue, primarily, though since Cuyahoga County is known for public corruption anything can happen. And community activists say they expect slick activity by authorities to try to minimize liability in response to a wrongful death and Civil Rights lawsuit scheduled to be filed next week on behalf of Anderson and her family. (Editor's note: The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, January 7 and Anderson's family, her attorneys, and mental health advocates held a press conference on January 8 around the lawsuit and the homicide ruling).

"We are pleased that the county medical examiner ruled the police killing of Tanisha Anderson a homicide by police, and we call for county officials, judges, and the office of the county prosecutor to refrain from any impropriety in this case," said community activist Kathy Wray Coleman of the Imperial Women Coalition, who organized the first vigil for Tanisha with the family shortly after the tragedy.

The family is represented in the case by greater Cleveland attorney David Malik, and Attorney Alphonse Gerhardstein of Cincinnati.

Jasmine Johnson
Anderson's sister, Jasmine Johnson, 26, told Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's most read digital Black newspaper, that her family wants the police officer that killed Anderson to be indicted by a county grand jury on crimes against her older sister.

"We want an indictment," said Johnson,  during a community gathering last month sponsored by District Attorney Steve Dettelbach on a report by the U.S.  Department of Justice (DOJ).on systemic problems in the Cleveland Police Department.

Findings announced last month from a comprehensive investigation by the DOJ addressed gross impropriety in the largely White Cleveland police department, from excessive deadly force to illegal tasing and pistil whipping of Blacks and others.

The controversial DOJ report also found, among a host of other issues detrimental to the Black community, that police are harassing the mentally ill, and that mentally challenged people are routinely subjected to cruel and unnecessary force by Cleveland police officers.

According to the family, an ambulance was called to the family home on Nov.  13 because Anderson, who was not violent but has a history of mental health problems, was acting erratic. Instead, Cleveland police arrived and ultimately took her into custody, even though they had no warrant and no  court order. When she objected she was allegedly slammed to the sidewalk, handcuffed, and killed by police. Both her daughter, Mauvion Green, 16, who was her only child, and a brother, Joell Anderson, 40, witnessed the killing.

An ambulance took some 20 minutes or more to arrive at the scene.
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