A grand jury has declined to indict a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy for fatally shooting 16-year-old Joseph Haynes outside a county courtroom.
In January 2018, Haynes was attending a hearing at the Franklin County Courthouse when a fight broke out between him, his family and Deputy Richard Scarborough. Authorities say the deputy’s gun went off in his holster, shooting Haynes in the stomach.
Haynes was transferred to Grant Medical Center, where he died.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release Monday that they presented evidence and witnesses of the “fatal use of deadly force incident” to a Franklin County grand jury. That testimony and evidence is kept secret under Ohio law.
“After deliberations, the Franklin County Grand Jury determined that the use of deadly force was reasonable under the law and declined to issue an indictment,” the release says.
Family members say Haynes' mother attempted to remove her son from the courtroom, and the altercation occurred when Scarborough grabbed ahold of the mother.
"That's when [Joseph] freaked out and he told the deputy, 'Get your hands off my mom, get your hands off my mom,' and [Joseph] didn't even jump on his back or nothing, he just touched him on the shoulder," said Haynes' aunt Rianne Dotson.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office led the investigation of the incident. Chief Rick Minerd said Scarborough was "knocked to the ground as part of that altercation, where he came under attack from some of the folks that were involved." Keith Ferrell of Fraternal Order of Police defended Scarborough, saying that "this was a fight for his life at some point."
After Haynes was shot, Scarborough was taken to Riverside Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Haynes' family members have called for Scarborough's firing.
Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office recused itself from the case “to avoid the conflict or appearance of a conflict because of their working relationship with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and because Franklin County Assistant Prosecutors were potential witnesses to the events surrounding the use of deadly force.”