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$5.5 Million Dollar Award for Estate of Unarmed Ohio Man Killed by Police

On Ohio federal jury awarded $5.5 million against an off-duty Cleveland police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man.

The suit concerns the March 10, 2012, death of 20 year old Kenneth C. Smith.  He was at a local club that was evacuated due to a fight.  Shots were fired in the parking lot.  Smith was not involved in the fight or shooting.

Smith entered the front passenger seat of a car driven by a friend, and they left the club parking lot.  Roger Jones, an off-duty police officer, heard the gunshots while in a “gentleman’s club”.  He called the Cleveland Police Central Communications Unit, advising he was pursuing the vehicle Smith was traveling in because he believed the shooter was on the driver’s side.

The vehicle was stopped by marked police cars due to an unrelated incident, and Jones, who was out of uniform, approached the vehicle without notifying the uniformed officers.

He ran up to the passenger’s side, kicked in Smith’s window , and ordered him from the car at gunpoint.

Jones pulled Smith from the vehicle and ordered him to the ground.  As he raised his arms to surrender and begged Jones not to kill him, Jones shot the unarmed Smith in the left side of his head.  Smith died of his injuries.

On September 8, 2015, the federal jury found Jones liable for using excessive force.  It awarded $1 million in survivorship damages and $4.5 million in wrongful death damages.  Smith’s estate was represented by attorney Terry H. Gilbert.  See:  Smith v. Jones, USDC, N.D. Ohio, Case No: 1:13-cv-744.

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Related legal case

Smith v. Jones