A grand jury declined to bring charges against Cleveland police officers in the death of Tanisha Anderson, it was announced today. The grand jury had begun hearing testimony in the last week of September 2017.
The case itself dates back to Anderson's death in police custody more than three years ago, on Nov. 13, 2014.
Anderson, 37, was involved in a family dispute on Ansel Road on Cleveland's east side. Police were called, and, after discussion with the family, officers handcuffed the woman, who was suffering a mental health episode, and escorted her to a cruiser to be taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. After resisting, officers used a takedown move. She then went limp, according to police officers on the scene.
Internal use-of-force investigators handled the case at first, passing it to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office. Tim McGinty, then prosecutor, handed it to the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department for an investigation. That wrapped up in 2016, and it was then handed back to the Prosecutor's Office which then handed it to the Ohio Attorney General, assigned special prosecutor in the case.
An initial autopsy by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide. But a Cuyahoga County judge ordered the first page of that autopsy stricken from the record — it contained Garrity material. The first page is where the cause and manner of death was listed, which is why the Ohio Attorney General's Office had to get another one. The second autopsy found Anderson died of heart disease and other health reasons.
Internal Affairs already determined the officers — Scott Aldridge and Bryan Myers — failed to provide medical assistance. Now that they've been cleared of any criminal charges by the grand jury, the department will evaluate what if any punishments will be laid out.
The City of Cleveland, for its part, agreed, almost exactly one year ago, to a $2.25 million settlement with her family, who had filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
"Money is one issue," Cassandra Johnson, her mother, said at the time, "justice is another."
A call to Johnson today was answered by another family member. "It's an emotional time for her," they said.