MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – A grieving family says they have waited long enough and are demanding answers, five months after their son, Datwuan Catchings, was shot and killed by a Maple Heights police officer.
They took their concerns to city hall, hoping for answers, but say they left learning little more than when they came.
The young man’s family is calling for everyone to be fired from the police chief to the officer who pulled the trigger.
“I hope I can get my answers, some of my answers because it’s ridiculous. We’ve been waiting and waiting. There’s no need for them to keep holding onto information,” said Datwuan Catchings’ mother, Sandrina Fields.
The family of 22-year-old Datwuan Catchings gathered outside before the Maple Heights regular city council meeting Wednesday night.
Datwuan Catchings was shot and killed by a Maple Heights police officer in the early morning hours of May 30.
“My son was running from the police and he got shot in the back, unjustifiably,” said the young man’s father, Deane Catchings, Sr.
Police body camera video shows Maple Heights police officers pursuing a car that they believe was involved in a shooting in Cleveland hours earlier.
The bodycam video shows the officer chasing Datwuan Catchings on foot.
Police say he shows a gun, but Datwuan Catchings’ family says the video actually shows their son trying to jump a fence to get away and not aiming at officers when he was shot in the back.
“A lot of questions I have were directly for the mayor, but she’s not here. I don’t know why,” said Deane Catchings, Sr. while addressing council members.
Inside the meeting, the parents questioned the officer’s past employment, his qualifications and whether he is still on the police force.
“I just do not have an understanding about why my child is not here, saying his part. He got shot in the back, that’s a sucker move,” said Fields.
“You know, that man shot my son and he shouldn’t have shot him. Do something about it, do something about it,” said Deane Catchings, Sr.
Mayor Annette Blackwell did not attend the meeting, but Maple Heights’ police chief and law director did answer a few of their questions, telling the family the officer involved was placed on administrative leave but has since returned to work.
“On September 26, which is four months after the incident, he was released to full duty to go back out among the public,” said Maple Heights law director Frank Consolo.
“We’re not doing the investigation into the shooting in Cleveland. That’s Cleveland’s investigation. For obvious reasons, we’ve separated and letting another agency investigate it, we’re not investigating ourselves,” said Police Chief Todd Hansen.
The answers were apparently not good enough for Datwuan Catchings’ family.
“When he kills one of your kids out here in Maple, you’re going to be happy then!” yelled an angry Deane Catchings, Sr. as he stormed out of the meeting.
With help from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the incident will be referred for review by prosecutors outside of Cuyahoga County.