Friends of Northside man killed by police speak out to Council

Friends of David Hebert spoke to Cincinnati City Council at length Wednesday afternoon about his death.

Hebert was shot and killed by police on April 18 as they were responding to a report of a cutting. Police say Hebert stepped at them with a switchblade, and one of the officers fired two rounds, hitting Hebert in the chest.

There are three separate investigations surround the shooting - the criminal investigation of David Hebert, the internal police investigation of its officers and an external investigation done by the Citizens Complaint Authority, which is an independent group that will investigate the police department.

Friends of Hebert packed City Council chambers, asking them to investigate this case as strongly as they would any other incident facing the administration.

Friends say his life was taken too soon and they want the officers responsible for taking it to be brought to justice.

"I will not let this go away," said long-time friend Paul Carmack, who like many others that called 40-year-old David "Bones" Hebert a friend, want answers.

"This community deserves answers," said one woman. "Those who loved him and still do, deserve answers."

"We need council to recognize that he is a person who mattered to the community of Northside," said Kate Schadler. "And if he was attacking police, why was he still holding his dog's leash?"

You cannot see Hebert in the only police dash-cam video that was released, showing the scene from the officer's back and Hebert out of view.

"Why were those cruiser cams with privileged vantage point to record the event switched off?" asked another man of Council.

Some of Hebert's friends said he never pulled the knife on cops, but hurled it backward, breaking a window on the house behind him.

"If the shooting happened here," Carmack said holding his hands about a foot apart. "The house sits on a hill, the window was 25 feet over his left shoulder. It's the upper window that is broken. There's no way their story adds-up, physics are physics."

"It was close quarters for very rapid action on the part of this subject," said Acting Cincinnati Police Chief Richard Janke defending two Cincinnati Police officers, who stood within two feet of Hebert and a woman who was with him.

"Mr. Hebert pulled a knife from his pocket," Janke said. "Raised his arm with the knife and made what is described as a swipe at the closest officer to him."

Sergeant Andrew Mitchell, who was in a covered position, fired the two fatal shots.

Toxicology reports would later show Hebert had marijuana in his system and his blood alcohol level was four times the Ohio legal limit for driving.

"I feel excessive force was used and resulted in the unnecessary death of our dear friend," said one woman. "Shooting to kill in this situation was unnecessary."

"For a Cincinnati Police officer to draw their firearm in response to a threat of an edged weapon," Janke said. "Drawing the firearm is appropriate."

"And I thought," said another woman to Council. "How could Chief Janke make this judgment call when the investigations have just started."

"I'm here to demand that what transpired be independently and exhaustively investigated with the utmost transparency," said Crow Grandy tearfully. "We are not satisfied."

Mayor Mark Mallory assured them clear, transparent facts will be revealed once three parallel investigations are completed.

"We have been through a lot in this city in the last ten years," Mallory said. "There have been improvements, there has been progress, this is still not a perfect city, this is not a perfect administration, and we will work to continue to improve it."

We're told Hebert's family is hiring a legal liaison, to work with his friends here in Cincinnati, as they gather information.

Hebert's body was laid to rest in a private funeral ceremony Monday in New Orleans, back home, where he was from.

The police have maintained all along, that Hebert pulled a 13-inch switchblade on them, and that they had very little time to react.

Using a baton or taser to subdue him was just not possible they said.

"None of them perceived that as an option," Janke said. "They simply didn't have time, this was just a very, very quick incident."

Friends of Hebert are planning an event Sunday, May 1st at 12:30pm, which will run through the streets of Northside, starting at the corner of Chase and Virginia Avenues.

A New Orleans-style jazz march will end at Hoffner Park, for a memorial and prayer service.

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