On Monday, two Cleveland Metroparks rangers were cleared in the death of 33-year-old Derek Stokes, who died following a shootout in the parking garage of the city’s Justice Center last December.
Prosecutor McGinty: 'The Rangers had no choice but to return fire.' Prosecutor's Office, Grand Jury say Rangers wont face criminal charges
— Nichole Vrsansky (@NVrsansky) July 25, 2016
— Frank Macek (@frankmacekwkyc) July 25, 2016
In connection with their decision, prosecutors released video showing Stokes squirming around in the back of the car transporting him to the Justice Center. On video, Stokes, who was arrested on an outstanding burglary warrant, can be heard claiming he’d soiled himself, while prosecutors say he was actually shifting around to grab a hidden handgun and conceal it behind his back.
— John Harper (@JC_HARP) July 26, 2016
Stokes can be seen moving the gun from his boot to the backseat, fidgeting to fit the gun behind his back. McLellan at one point asks, “what’s going on back there.”
Stokes replied that he had soiled himself. McLellan told him not to worry.
“We’re pulling in soon,” she said.
Moments later, as McLellan maneuvered the car into the garage, Stokes pulled the gun from behind his back and shot twice as the ranger dove from the moving car.
The woman’s voice in the clip belongs to Metroparks ranger Chelsea McLellan, who was shot at close range but protected by a bulletproof vest. Stokes was shot three times in the subsequent exchange of fire.
Note: The YouTube clip also includes footage of the shootout, so it does become graphic, not to mention very loud.
“Given his use of deadly force against them, the Rangers used the only alternative available to protect themselves, other fellow officers and the community,” wrote Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty.