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‘I Can’t Breathe,’ Man Tells Canton Police Before Dying

Ohio AG probes a third deadly encounter with Canton police.

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State investigating a string of fatal encounters with Canton police

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office is investigating a third fatal confrontation with Canton police.

Frank E. Tyson, 53, died face down and handcuffed while being arrested April 18. Tyson, according to 911 callers, walked into a bar following a car crash. Patrons told police to “get him out of here.” Tyson knocked over a barstool as police wrestled him to the ground, where he was handcuffed and pinned face down, at times by an officer’s knee.

“You’re fine. Shut the fuck up,” an officer said as Tyson repeated his final words: “I can’t breathe.”

Nearly six minutes passed before officers checked Tyson’s pulse and called paramedics. The handcuffs stayed on for another two minutes before an officer rolled Tyson over and began chest compressions. Tyson never regained consciousness.

It could take weeks for an official cause and manner of death. The autopsy will be conducted by the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) will examine the use of force deployed by the officers.

BCI, meanwhile, is still investigating two domestic dispute calls from 2023 that ended in deadly police gunfire. Canton officers fatally shot Jeffrey Neff, 41, in an exchange of gunfire June 7. BCI forwarded its completed investigation to local prosecutors on March 14. On Dec. 5, an officer shot and killed 24-year-old Zachary Fornash, who was holding a pellet gun. That state investigation is ongoing.

Another recent investigation of Canton police ended with a grand jury declining to indict an officer who fatally shot 46-year-old James Williams through a fence on New Year’s Day morning in 2022.

—Doug Livingston

Anti-war unrest rises on Ohio campuses as Kent State shooting anniversary nears

Almost 54 years since the Ohio National Guard fired on Kent State University students during an anti-war protest, university students across the state are being violently arrested or detained while protesting Israel’s war in Gaza.

Crackdowns on campuses for anti-war protests across the U.S. have included deploying pepper balls and a Taser on protesters and arresting faculty members.

Similar encounters have been reported on several campuses across Ohio.

During demonstrations at Ohio State, highway patrol troopers were seen pointing long-range firearms from the roof of the university’s student union, reported the college’s student newspaper, The Lantern, this week. Police in the past week have arrested 41 people during protests at OSU, 19 of whom were students.

Some of the OSU arrests circulated on social media this week included images of police officers tackling, shoving and dragging demonstrators. Faculty and student organizations have criticized the university’s decision to use police to confront protesters.

This week, Case Western Reserve University police detained, then released, at least 20 protesters during several days of anti-war demonstration. After negotiating with students, the university has allowed demonstrators to camp overnight through the week.

“We’ve put, at this point, no limits on it, and they [students] haven’t told us that they’re stopping or how long they would be running, so day-to-day,” Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Peter Whiting told Signal Cleveland

Meanwhile, Kent State University students have yet to set up an anti-war encampment, but a group of students announced a demonstration for Saturday to mark the 54th anniversary of the May 4 shooting that left four students dead and nine others injured.

The KSU student group has called for a peaceful demonstration and is asking administrators to “set an example” as student protests across the country continue.

“We believe in the potential of Kent State University to be an example of peace through justice … We call on you to set an example for the rest of the country, not just for the victims of May 4th, not just for students, not just for Gaza, but for the sake of humanity,” students wrote in a press release.

—Brittany Hailer

Cleveland teens dig into voting — including for local judges

The Spot, a grassroots youth empowerment organization, gathered with more than a dozen teens and young adults on a recent Saturday at Cleveland Public Library’s South Brooklyn Branch for a daylong workshop on government powers, elections and voting.

Led by Teralawanda Aaron, the event offered attendees a chance to earn money — $50 — and walk away with civic knowledge. Participants heard from The Marshall Project - Cleveland’s Outreach Manager Louis Fields and Contributing Editor Rachel Dissell, who spoke about the justice system and the power elected judges have.

Students were also shown how a new tool, created, by The Marshall Project and Signal Cleveland, can help them research judicial candidates using their phones.

—Louis Fields and Rachel Dissell

A woman gestures at an image projected on a wall while talking to a group of young people sitting in chairs.

Teralawanda Aaron, who leads The Spot, talks to the young people who signed up to learn about local government and voting on April 27.

County won’t say why Sheriff Pretel went to Israel

Weeks after Cuyahoga County Sheriff Harold Pretel and Chief Deputy Aaron Reese took a free trip to Israel with other law enforcement officials, County Executive Chris Ronayne’s administration will not say how the trip will help Pretel run the Sheriff’s Department and its troubled jail.

Ronayne’s administration refused to disclose who paid for the trip. However, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland later told The Marshall Project - Cleveland that it covered the costs for Pretel and Reese.

“The trip was strictly humanitarian in nature and allowed Clevelanders to see — first hand — the trauma that exists in Israel today from the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas and the humanitarian efforts Jewish Cleveland is contributing to help address the trauma,” the Jewish Federation of Cleveland wrote in a statement.

The Marshall Project - Cleveland asked Ronayne’s administration several times to explain the trip’s purpose, but a spokeswoman said in a statement: “This trip was not related to County business, nor was taxpayer money used for it. Cuyahoga County does not have further comment on this matter.”

—Mark Puente

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