Kenny Smith's Family Awarded $5.5 Million in Wrongful Death Case Involving Cleveland Police Officer

The family of Kenny Smith was awarded $5.5 million this week by a federal jury in a civil case that found that Officer Roger Jones had used excessive force in shooting and killing Smith during a 2012 incident.

The shooting, which predates the media storm over police use-of-force incidents, fell swiftly out of the conversation about public safety. Later in 2012, Scene published a feature about Smith's budding rap career and about the effect his death had on his circle of friends.

At odds with the decision is a lingering statement from Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty. In 2014, ruling the shooting “justified,” McGinty hailed Jones for "correctly and heroically [taking] action to protect the safety of the citizens of Cleveland."

Relatedly, the trial of Devonta Hill began this morning has been postponed until Sept. 16. (This trial has been repeatedly postponed for years, so who knows when it will actually begin.) He was driving the car that Smith was in during the shooting. He is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated riot, tampering with evidence, discharge of a firearm near prohibited premises, two counts of failure to comply and four counts of felonious assault.

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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