CLEVELAND – A grand jury has declined to charge two Ohio police officers in the death of a mentally ill woman who collapsed while handcuffed and struggling with police in 2014, authorities said Friday.
The grand jury cleared Cleveland officers Scott Aldridge and Bryan Myers of any criminal wrongdoing in the November 2014 death of Tanisha Anderson. Authorities have said Anderson, 37, of Cleveland, agreed to accompany officers called to her home by her family in November 2014, then began struggling after getting into a cruiser.
Cuyahoga County's medical examiner had found that Anderson stopped breathing after being placed on her stomach, and heart problems and mental illness contributed to her death. Ohio Attorney General Special Prosecutions Chief Matthew J. Donahue noted in a memorandum about the case to the judge and a deputy attorney general that another medical expert found "it would appear no significant chest compromise was occurring and the sudden collapse is more consistent with a cardiac event."
Donahue described Anderson's death as "tragic."
Cleveland settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Anderson's family for $2.25 million in 2017.
The family had said that it wanted the officers to be prosecuted. An attorney for the family, David Malik, told WJW-TV that he urged the public to access the court documents to obtain the "real facts." A message seeking additional comment from Malik was left at his office Friday.
Police union officials have maintained the officers did nothing wrong.
"I appreciate the efforts of the special prosecutor and the service of (the) grand jury that came to the just conclusion that these officers did nothing wrong," attorney Henry Hilow, who represents the police officers, told WJW on Friday.
Officials with the city and the police will determine whether the officers will face any discipline.