LIMA, Ohio – A white police officer has been charged in the shooting death of a black woman during a January drug raid that touched off protests and much discussion about race relations in a northwest Ohio city, where one in four residents is black.
A grand jury charged Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, the officer who fired the fatal shot, with negligent homicide, a special prosecutor announced Monday. He was to be arraigned later Monday.
Many citizens and civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, demanded that Chavalia and police officials who planned the raid be held accountable.
It would be a travesty of justice if no one was charged, Jackson said last month during a visit to address racial tensions. "This young woman did not deserve to die," he said.
Following the shooting, dozens of people accused the police department of being hostile and abusive toward minorities. One group led a series of marches through the city to protest what they said was mistreatment by police.
City leaders have been fearful of what would happen if the officer who shot Tarika Wilson was not charged.
Wilson, 26, was killed in a SWAT raid at her house while she was holding her 1-year-old son who was wounded. Family members say she was an innocent bystander who was not armed.
A team of officers on Jan. 4 burst into the home looking for her boyfriend. Police shot the mother of six and her son, Sincere Wilson. He was wounded and had a finger amputated.
Little else is known about what happened. Police have said Wilson's 31-year-old boyfriend, who was arrested during the raid, was the target of a drug investigation.