CMHA Officer Who Shot and Killed Arthur Keith Will Not Face Charges


Arthur Keith - FAMILY PHOTO
  • Family photo
  • Arthur Keith

CMHA officer James Griffiths will not face charges for shooting and killing Arthur Keith in November 2020 near the King Kennedy public housing complex in Cleveland, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced today.

Special counsel for the AG's office had presented the case to a grand jury and recommended charges not be filed. The grand jury agreed.

“The grand jury ultimately felt that officer Griffith acted reasonably,” special counsel Pierson said.

The official narrative in the immediate aftermath said that CMHA officers were responding to someone waving a gun and that Keith himself pointed a gun at them before they shot him.

But an autopsy that showed Keith was shot in the upper back and witnesses who told and Cleveland police office that Keith never pointed a gun at officers.

Residents said that Keith, who had been sleeping in a van, was running from the CMHA cop. Witnesses did tell police, Yost's office said, that they did hear Griffiths tell Keith to exit the van and drop the weapon. But Yost's office merely used the investigatory information from Cleveland police. It didn't interview any witnesses independently.

Complicating the investigation were multiple factors, including the fact that CMHA officers don't wear body cameras and that several CMHA surveillance cameras that could have caught the incident were broken.

Ideastream Public Media sued CMHA and the city of Cleveland in April seeking the release recordings that do exist.

Gabrielle Wilson, a lawyer on the case, said in a statement this spring: "In order to hold our government accountable, the public must first know what the government is doing. As we are in the midst of a nationwide dialogue about accountability in policing, how the government can withhold footage of a young man being killed by a CMHA officer is perplexing, especially where the government refuses to openly provide an adequate reason for withholding said footage."

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