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Witness account contradicts police in CMHA police shooting of 19-year-old

Posted at 4:20 PM, Dec 03, 2020

CLEVELAND — The family of 19-year-old Arthur Keith, who was killed nearly three weeks ago by a Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority officer outside the King Kennedy Housing Complex, put out yet another call for justice on Thursday.

"My brother did not deserve that,” said Keith's sister Shantarita Hawkins. "Now I have to go the rest of my life without seeing him.”

According to authorities, a CMHA officer spotted a vehicle that was believed to be connected to an earlier shooting. The CMHA officer ordered the Keith out of the vehicle and he pointed a gun at the officer. Police said they believe the officer then fired shots, striking the teen, who fled but collapsed and later died.

Jahzir Melton said he saw the entire thing.

"Arthur tried to get out the car and then he tried to run, that’s when we heard five gun shots,” said Melton.

After the shots, Melton said the officer who shot Keith kept looking for a gun.

"He just kept repeating 'he had a gun, he had a gun,' but he’s on the ground the whole time, we don’t see a gun,” said Melton.

The family’s attorney, Stanley Jackson, said CMHA is not being forthcoming with surveillance video from cameras near the crime scene.

"We expect CMHA to be professional enough to release that video. It’s been a while, it’s been too long. That video would really shed some light on what happened on that day,” said Jackson.

The Cleveland Division of Police, which is the investigating department, said they are still collecting evidence.

News 5 has reach out to CMHA for comment but we have not heard back at this time.