Family hosts protests about Taser death case

CINCINNATI - From outside the Hamilton County Coroner's building protestors shouted for motorists to "honk for justice!"

Across from the prosecutor's office, more protestors cried out "He tased him to death!"

Family and friends of Everette Howard made their anger heard. Howard's aunt, Roberta Neblett, says her nephew's death is too heavy a burden for his mother.

"His mother is so upset, she can't bear any more," Neblett said.

Howard was an Upward Bound student at the University of Cincinnati. He died last August after a campus police officer, responding to reports of a fight, shot him with a Taser.

The officer says Howard lunged at him.

"It makes no sense," Neblett said. "We want answers."

Last week prosecutor Joe Deters sent a letter to the campus police stating that "officer Richard Haas was justified in his actions."

Neblett won't accept that.

"My nephew had five acceptances to colleges," she said. "He was highly honored."
    
Those gathered outside Hamilton County Coronor Lakshmi Sammarco's office are equally incensed.

Howard's autopsy report states the cause of his death is "unknown and undetermined."

"Something happened," said protester Mercedes Phillips, Howard's cousin. "His heart stopped. Something caused his death. To say undetermined is not OK."

The coroner would seem to sympathize, saying in a media release  "it is frustrating not be able to ascertain a definitive cause of death."

But statements of frustration do little to ease the angst Howard's family is feeling.
    
"We don't want this swept under the carpet as if it doesn't matter," Neblett said. "Our kids matter. All kids matter."

 

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