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Published: Friday, 2/29/2008

Prosecutor gets report on killing of Lima woman

LIMA, Ohio - State investigators have concluded their probe into the Jan. 4 fatal shooting of a Lima woman by a city police sergeant during a drug raid.

"We have wrapped up our portion of the investigation," said Jennifer Brindisi, a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. "We have presented the special prosecutor with our report and evidence and everything that he requested."

Defiance County Prosecutor Jeff Strausbaugh was appointed as a special prosecutor for the controversial case.

Mr. Strausbaugh could not be reached for comment yesterday but said at a Jan. 16 news conference in Lima that, based on the investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, he would decide whether enough evidence existed to present the case to an Allen County grand jury for criminal charges against Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, who fired the fatal shots.

Tarika Wilson, 26, was killed and her 14-month-old son, Sincere, was injured when members of the Lima police SWAT team executed a "no-knock" search warrant at her Third Street home and arrested her boyfriend, Anthony Terry, on drug charges. At some point during the 8:15 p.m. raid, Sergeant Chavalia fired at Wilson, who was holding the youngest of her six children at the time.

Police gave no explanation for why the officer fired his weapon, and the shooting raised concerns and tensions about unfair treatment of African-American residents by police. The Rev. Jesse Jackson came to Lima earlier this month to meet with ministers and community leaders to talk about healing and change. He condemned the shooting as excessive force, plain and simple.

"In this case, this was a botched plan, a botched raid," Mr. Jackson said. "This was unnecessary force, excessive and illegal."

The FBI is looking into whether any civil rights violations occurred, and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was brought in to determine whether police violated any police department policies.

Ms. Brindisi said Mr. Strausbaugh received BCI's findings late last week. She said he can and has requested more information.

"We're kind of at his call," she said. "If he feels he needs something more, we'll definitely go back and do what we need to get it."



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