Tanisha Anderson: Cleveland cops involved in death of mentally ill woman to face grand jury

Tanisha Anderson died after restrained by officers

CLEVELAND - Two Cleveland police officers involved in the death of a 37-year-old mentally ill woman will face a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury expected to hear the case nearly 3 years after her death.

Tanisha Anderson died on an icy sidewalk outside the family's home in November, 2014 after her family called for mental health assistance.

The case dragged on for nearly three years, bouncing between a Cuyahoga County Sheriff Department investigation, to a review by a court appointed special master and finally for review by the Ohio Attorney General's office.

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"The grand jury will convene shortly," said Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine.

"This matter is very close to going to a grand jury where the people of this county will have an opportunity to hear all the evidence and make decision."

DeWine said his office is  "looking for a time in the grand jury's schedule."

A Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled in January, 2015,  the cause of death was "sudden death associated with being restrained in a prone position".

Family members say instead of transporting Anderson, who was bi-polar and schizophrenic, to the hospital, she was handcuffed face down on the sidewalk.

A police internal review found the officers also "failed to call for an ambulance in a timely manner".

Records show at least 14 minutes expired before a supervisor was called.

Cassandra Johnson, Anderson's mother, said "no parent should have to wait this long" for justice.

She is calling on the grand jury to remember her daughter's cry for help--"Mommy, help me."

Tanisha's uncle is urging the grand jury to remember "14 minutes that went by before a supervisor was called for help".

Both officers remain the department and have not been discipline in connection with the incident.

Since then, Cleveland Police have overhauled their crisis intervention training that deals with de-escalating tensions between police and those with mental illness.

Meanwhile, the City of Cleveland settled a civil lawsuit in connection with the death for $2.25 million.

 

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