Protest in East Cleveland demands justice for teen shot, killed by police following chase


EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — With a unified stance, dozens of people marched through East Cleveland to the police department standing in solidarity with the family of Vincent Belmonte.

“No mother should have to go through the pain and sorrow that I’m going through,” said Belmonte’s mother.

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Belmonte, 18, was fatally shot by Sgt. Larry McDonald on Jan. 5 following the chase of a stolen car.

Belmonte, who was allegedly driving the car, crashed. He and two others ran from the burning vehicle.

Officers fired shots, striking Belmonte several times. Police said he was armed.

“Vincent was a family man. He was a son, he was a brother, he was a friend, he was a confidant. He was not a carjacker, he was not a thief,” said an attorney for the Belmonte family. “We’re demanding that this family gets accountability, gets transparency in this investigation.”

Bodycam video was released, but the camera was turned off just prior to the shooting.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducted an investigation and a special prosecutor was appointed to decide whether felony charges should be brought against McDonald.

The attorney said the autopsy shows Belmonte was shot in the back of the head.

Black Lives Matter Cleveland hosted the event along with several organizations, also showing support for Cleveland families who have lost loved ones to police violence.

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“The message today is police accountability, all across the country, even here locally in Cleveland there has been no accountability for police violence, the murder of black and brown people within our community,” said Latonya Goldsby, president of Black Lives Matter Cleveland.

It also comes a year after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. 

“And let people know that not much has changed since George Floyd was murdered and not much has changed since Derek Chauvin was convicted for his murder,” Goldsby said.

The East Cleveland police chief says McDonald remains on modified duty, inside the police station, until the findings of the special prosecutor. He says based on BCI’s investigation he’d be surprised if it’s ruled anything other than justified.


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