Witnesses who saw Moraine police shoot and kill Jamarco McShann have “a very different narrative than is given by the police,” according to an attorney who filed a federal wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit on behalf of McShann’s mother.
McShann, 23, of Dayton, was shot and killed Oct. 20, 2017, while he was in his car outside an apartment complex on Pinnacle Park Drive. The county coroner’s office listed “multiple shotgun and gunshot wounds” as the cause of death.
Moraine police officers John Howard and Jerry Knight — who fired their weapons — are named defendants as are officers Michael Cornely, Justin Eller and Brian O’Neal.
“What we know is Jamarco presented no threat,” said attorney Andrew Stroth, one of the attorneys representing McShann’s mother, Sabrina Jordan. “What we know is Jamarco was asleep. What we know is the police shot him in the back of the vehicle. That’s unconstitutional. That’s unreasonable.”
Moraine police Chief Craig Richardson has said McShann pointed a gun at officers, and that’s when Howard and Knight opened fire.
The officers returned to full duty in December. Moraine city officials said no internal investigation has been completed. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that the criminal case — overseen at Moraine PD’s request by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation — has not yet been presented to a grand jury.
“The City of Moraine does not comment on pending litigation,” read a statement made Wednesday by Moraine law director Buzz Portune, “but is satisfied that all actions taken by its Division of Police and officers involved in the matter were fully compliant with all applicable law enforcement standards and appropriate under the circumstances.”
The lawsuit alleging a conspiracy and misconduct involving several Moraine police officer was filed Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.
A press conference including Stroth, Jordan and other Ohio mothers of black men shot and killed by police was held at the Body Of Christ Deliverance Center on Catalpa Drive in Dayton.
The group that helped form Ohio Families United Against Police Brutality included locals Patricia Martin, the mother of Dontae Martin, and Dionne Burney, the mother of Kesharn Burney.
“They are my sisters. Not through blood, but through bloodshed, unfortunately,” Jordan said. “I’m mad. I’m angry. I’m upset, but I’m fighting. We are fighting. We are fighting together for all our sons.”
Rev. Jerome McCorry, the president and CEO of the Atlanta-based National Congress on Faith & Social Justice, said the mothers are leaders: “We’re going to continue to fight for justice until justice is done.”
Police had been called to the apartment complex because of loud music coming from McShann’s vehicle.
“This was not a split-second type of situation,” attorney Sara Gelsomino said. “The officers were on the scene for 40 minutes or so before shots were fired. … There are a lot of questions about what happened in that moment.”
The lawsuit stated that the “defendant officers otherwise acted both willfully, wantonly, recklessly, negligently, intentionally, and with malice and willful indifference in committing the acts alleged in this complaint, which resulted in the wrongful death of Jamarco McShann.”
Gelsomino said they dispute that any officer had a reasonable fear of immediate death or great bodily harm.
Gelsomino also said officers made no attempt to de-escalate the situation: “This was not a situation where the officers had to immediately approach with guns drawn and blazing and awaken this poor young man out of a dead sleep to shoot and kill him.”