Father of 19-year-old killed by CMHA police demanding answers after witnesses claim his son was shot in the back
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Cleveland father is demanding answers and justice after his 19-year-old son was shot and killed by a Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Police Department officer on Friday.
Stop the Pain, a local organization, is also getting involved. They said they want everyone to keep the peace, as they demand to know why a young Black man was killed at the hands of a white police officer.
Scott Hawkins Sr. is the father of 19-year-old Arthur Keith, who died from his injuries at the hospital.
“All I heard was that he got shot in the back," Keith said. "That’s all they are telling me. I’m not getting the whole story, so I’m still putting the pieces together to find out what happened to my boy.”
An officer shot Keith at approximately 5:00 pm on the CMHA property King Kennedy on Cleveland’s east side, according to police.
“He’s a nice guy, everybody loved him. He had a good relationship with the community and many of his family and friends still lived out there, even though we moved several years ago. So I really don’t believe he pulled no gun out,” Hawkins said.
But CMHAPD said officers approached the black van Keith was in because the vehicle was suspected of being involved in a shooting Thursday night.
Police said they asked Keith to step out of the vehicle, and that’s when Keith allegedly pulled a gun and pointed it at the officer. Shots were then fired by police.
CMHAPD Chief Andy Gonzalez told 19 News after the shooting, “We administered first aid, and were able to recover a firearm.”
Calls were made to Cleveland Police Department, now handling the investigation, as well as CMHA in an attempt to confirm if Keith was shot in the back by the officer.
At this time, that information is not being provided due to the ongoing investigation.
Keith’s father said family members and others witnessed the shooting and called him.
Hawkins said the van his son was in was not his own.
Hawkins said the van belonged to a friend of Keith’s and had Illinois plates.
Stop the Pain is calling for transparency and standing behind the Cleveland father, saying they won’t stop asking questions about the fatal shooting until they get answers.
George Terrell is the Executive Director of Stop the Pain.
“You know we’ve lost another young Black man to the hands of police. A young man that we have heard from numerous witnesses was running away and was shot in the back. This officer became the judge, the jury and his executioner,” Terrell said.
The group wants to know if CMHAPD need to follow the same consent decree standards as Cleveland Police Department when it comes to lethal or excessive force.
Terrence Colvin watched Keith grow up, “You don’t deserve to get shot down like a dog.”
Stop the Pain asks Chief Gonzalez to reach out to Keith’s family and let them know what happened.
As for Hawkins, “I’m just trying to get justice for my son because he was a good kid.”
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