Kenny Smith's Family Awarded $5.5 Million in Wrongful Death Case Involving Cleveland Police Officer



The family of Kenny Smith was awarded $5.5 million this week by a federal jury in a civil case that found that Officer Roger Jones had used excessive force in shooting and killing Smith during a 2012 incident.

The shooting, which predates the media storm over police use-of-force incidents, fell swiftly out of the conversation about public safety. Later in 2012, Scene published a feature about Smith's budding rap career and about the effect his death had on his circle of friends.

At odds with the decision is a lingering statement from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty. In 2014, ruling the shooting “justified,” McGinty hailed Jones for "correctly and heroically [taking] action to protect the safety of the citizens of Cleveland."

Relatedly, the trial of Devonta Hill began this morning has been postponed until Sept. 16. (This trial has been repeatedly postponed for years, so who knows when it will actually begin.) He was driving the car that Smith was in during the shooting. He is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated riot, tampering with evidence, discharge of a firearm near prohibited premises, two counts of failure to comply and four counts of felonious assault.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.