The grand jury refused to indict the DEA agent who shot a Cleveland man who walked toward his secret car

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A grand jury on Friday refused to indict an undercover DEA agent for shooting a man who walked toward an unmarked SUV last year.

The agent, identified in Cleveland police reports as Ryan Schumacher, shot Trayvon Johnson in the stomach on April 14, 2021, at East 82nd Street, near Decker Street. The agents were running a secret drug operation, and Schumacher was sitting in an SUV in front of Johnson’s house when Johnson, then 20, walked toward the car.

In a news release announcing the decision, Cuyahoga County District Attorney Michael O’Malley’s office said the grand jury on Friday refused to charge Schumacher with two counts of felony assault in connection with the shooting.

The office said Johnson and Schumacher, neither of whom was named in the statement, appeared before the grand jury.

The statement did not say how many shots the agent fired or how many shots Johnson had.

A spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Administration declined to comment.

Stanley Jackson Jr., a Cochrane attorney who represents Johnson and his family, said the family was disappointed that Schumacher would not face shooting charges. She is also upset with the prosecutor’s office.

“Tryvon Johnson has been re-injured,” Jackson said in a text message.

Jackson said videos of the shooting showed Johnson did not pose a threat to the client.

“The grand jury process in Ohio and most importantly in Cuyahoga County needs to change,” Jackson said. “Our society deserves better.”

Prosecutors released videos showing Johnson getting to an SUV that stopped in front of Schumacher. Johnson took five steps toward the agent’s car and touched his clothes near the waistband of his pants. Johnson immediately turned around and ran toward the front porch. The video shows an item falling to the ground right in front of the curb.

No firearm can be distinguished in the videos. Prosecutors said police found a handgun from the scene, and that DNA that investigators extracted from the gun matched Johnson’s, prosecutors said.

Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer obtained one of the CCTV videos in an area near the Cleveland Metropolitan School, within days of the shooting. The video contradicted the initial release from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin told reporters at the scene that two men approached the agent while he was sitting in the SUV, one of whom was brandishing a gun and “shooting.” Martin also suggested in response to a TV reporter’s question that Johnson might have been trying to rob the agent, but offered no explanation to support that claim.

A statement issued by the DEA two days after the shooting said Johnson “actively brandished” a gun.

The video showed Johnson neither actively brandishing a gun nor firing any shots.

The second video, captured by the security camera at the Johnson family home, also contradicts Johnson and Jackson’s claims at a news conference two weeks after the shooting that Johnson had not approached the agent’s SUV.

Jackson and Johnson also said Johnson was not carrying a gun at the time of the shooting.

Johnson’s brother said family members at home saw a stranger sitting in an SUV outside their house for several minutes and became suspicious. The house has been targeted by gunfire. The brother said he called Johnson and told him about the car as soon as Johnson got home.

Johnson said at the press conference that he tied his pants as he crossed the street toward the house.

“I don’t know how it feels like I was a threat,” Johnson said. “I was on my way home. I was just trying to find out who was in that car.”

O’Malley campaigned for investigations into fatal police shootings to be referred to special prosecutors. His office continued to conduct checks on nonfatal shootings.

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