Judge’s Dismissal of Wrongful Death Lawsuit Perpetuates Police Violence Against People of Color
CLEVELAND, OH — On Friday, July 13, US District Judge James Gwin dismissed a lawsuit filed by the family of Luke Stewart over his avoidable death at the hands of Euclid Police officer Matthew Rhodes on March 13, 2017. Despite Judge Gwin’s explicit disgust about systemic problems within the Euclid Police Department, he ruled that Officer Rhodes did not violate Luke Stewart’s rights when he shot and killed him. The below statement can be attributed to J. Bennett Guess, Executive Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio:
“It defies all logic that a federal judge can blast the Euclid, Ohio, police department for its perpetuation of ‘dubiously supervised and organized’ training and its ‘cavalier indifference’ to use of deadly force that left yet another unarmed Black man, Luke Stewart, 23, dead, while his family’s case is simultaneously dismissed, with no recourse for justice nor any meaningful action taken to demand the change the judge makes patently obvious. Until the lives of unarmed Black men become as valuable in our society as the well-armed police officers who shoot and kill them, under the guise of serving and protecting, then all of us are culpable in the perpetuation of a militarized police culture that racially profiles first, kills second, and thinks last, if ever.”
In 2018 alone, 554 people have been shot and killed by the police.
The ACLU of Ohio is committed to challenging and eradicating police brutality in all Ohio communities.