No charges filed in the shooting of unarmed CWRU Law Student by Hudson Police

On August 3rd, 2017, a Summit County grand jury decided not to indict Hudson Police Department Officer Ryan Doran for shooting and killing a 26-year old unarmed Case Western Reserve University Law Student, Saif Nasser Mubarak Ali Alameri. The encounter took place near the Ohio Turnpike on December 4th, 2016.

With the grand jury’s decision closing the case for now, CWRU published in an official statement on Aug. 4, “The state may have closed the case involving our law student Saif Nasser Mubarak Ali Alameri, but his tragic loss continues to be felt keenly on our campus.”

As a result of the closed case, Officer Doran is in the process of being reinstated to his position in the Hudson Police Department. Upon the investigation’s completion in June 2017, the findings were turned over to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Special Prosecutions Section, who brought the case before the Summit County grand jury.

“We will be working to bring Officer Doran back to duty as soon as is practical,” Hudson city spokeswoman Jody Roberts said in a statement. “But it doesn’t minimize the fact that a life was lost. It is never the outcome we desire under any circumstance.”

CWRU’s School of Law also issued an official statement, saying that they are “deeply disappointed” by the Grand Jury decision and noting that both the school and the UAE Embassy will continue to explore legal options.

Upon the initial news of Alameri’s death last winter, Law School Deans Michael Scharf and Jessica Berg had released a statement that sympathized with the family, but refrained from commenting on the case itself. This response was met with criticism from CWRU law students who wanted to see the school take a hard stance for their classmate. Law student Taru Taylor and others launched a petition that received over a hundred signatures and urged the school to challenge the circumstances around the shooting.

Lewis R. Katz, the director of the law school’s foreign graduate studies program, and Michael J. Benza, a senior instructor, have questioned the investigation’s scope. Both Katz and Benza expressed concern that the investigation should have taken into account the student’s ethnicity and the officer’s initial response to the event.

The two have written to the the new U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Justin Herdman, to review Alameri’s case. If he were to take the case, it would break from Attorney General Jeff Session’s plan for the Justice Department to pursue fewer cases where police may misuse force or infringe upon civil rights.
Alameri had been under the influence of marijuana while driving no slower than 112 mph down the highway, according to reports received by the State Highway Patrol. After he flipped his car by sideswiping another vehicle, Alameri fled the scene of the crash to go into the nearby woods.

Doran responded to the crash. According to the dash cam footage, he pursued Alameri with his gun drawn.

“The dash cam didn’t demonstrate an officer who was there to help someone involved in a car crash,” Katz said.

There still has not been a clear reason established for Alameri fleeing the scene, but CWRU Law Professors also suggested that he may have suffered from a concussion after his car flipped over.

While pursuing Alameri, Doran claims that he turned and ran toward him, knocking him to the ground. Alameri ignored his orders to stop and attacked him from behind.

“I start to feel that my, I’m losing oxygen and I’m going to black out and I’m going to die,” Doran told investigators.

Doran fired three shots into Alameri’s leg., one into his face, and then a fatal shot to his head. Emergency services and more police cars arrived to take him and Officer Doran to Summa Akron City Hospital. No other weapons were found at the scene other than officer Doran’s gun. Despite the use of a defibrillator at the scene, Alameri died shortly after.  
The account that Doran gave was corroborated by DNA evidence, according to Bureau of Criminal Investigation records.

Verdicts resulting in acquittals for the officers involved in both the shooting of Tamir Rice and the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams stirred civil unrest throughout the city, and a 2013 report published by the U.S Justice Department indicated that the Cleveland Police Department engaged in a pattern of force that they had reason to believe violated the Fourth Amendment.  

Alameri’s family is continuing to search for legal options with the UAE Ambassador’s Office.