Ohio police kill 16-year-old in courthouse

By Trévon Austin
22 January 2018

Joseph Hanes, 16, was fatally shot by a deputy during a juvenile courtroom hearing on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. Chief Deputy Rick Minerd of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said Haynes was attending a hearing about a firearms charge when his family members and a deputy got into an altercation. At some point, the deputy shot Haynes in the abdomen.

Haynes was taken to a local hospital, where he died half an hour later. According to police, the deputy involved was taken to another hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Chief Deputy Minerd said the deputy had been “knocked to the ground as part of that altercation, where he came under attack from some of the folks that were involved—family members.”

Geraldine Haynes, Joseph’s grandmother, described the incident and said the struggle began after the deputy pushed Haynes’ mother against a wall when attempting to escort her out of the courtroom.

“Joey went over grabbed him by his shoulders and the guy slung him around and slung Joey to the ground. And then he got on top of Joey,” she said. “And then Joey’s hands were up in the air like that and the cop with his hand down by his side and the gun went off, he pulled the trigger on my grandson.”

“He pulled the trigger on my grandson,” she said. “He was trying to get his life together, now he won’t have a chance.”

Joseph’s mother, Karen Haynes, told Columbus Dispatch, “My son grabbed him by his shoulders and said get off my mom, you’re not gonna put your hands on my mom. The cop grabbed him flipped him over and was on top of him with his gun.”

Karen Haynes told reporters through tears, “It was so close it was like a muffled pillow shot and my son’s arms were already up, so why did you have to shoot him?”

Haynes’ lawyer Jennifer Brisco told the Columbus Dispatch that Joseph Haynes was “emotional” during the hearing. Brisco said, “Joseph was a little out of sorts because of how things went at the hearing. The officer threatened to lock him up and a scuffle broke out. Joseph was resisting, and that’s when there was a scuffle.”

Haynes’ friends and family took to Facebook to mourn his death. Haynes’ brother David wrote, “I love you Joseph Edward Haynes and I am going to miss you so much. R.I.P.” His family also launched a GoFundMe to raise money for a funeral.

Ohio police defended the officer involved in the shooting. Keith Ferrell, of the Columbus Fraternal Order of Police, said the officer was “in a fight for his life” during the altercation. Ferrell said the deputy was called into the courtroom after “de-escalation tactics” had failed and was “violently attacked by multiple people,” including other family members.

“He is there to protect every person in the courthouse including himself,” Ferrell said, adding that “countless” people could have lost their lives if the suspect had taken the officer’s weapons.”

A Facebook video describing the incident shows Ferrell defending the officer’s actions. “Let me be clear. Somewhere along the line portions of our society have decided that it’s okay to assault the police. That is not acceptable. We will not tolerate it,” he said.

According to killedbypolice.net, 68 people have been killed by police so far in 2018. Police killed over 1,100 people in 2017, averaging three people a day. According to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database, 28 people under the age of 18 were killed by police in 2017.

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