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‘He still mattered’: Advocates for man killed in Niles police shooting aren’t satisfied

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Matthew Burroughs' family and community members say the decision not to charge the officers involved isn't justice

NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – Family and community members say they are not happy with the county’s decision not to charge Niles officers who shot and killed Matthew Burroughs in January.

They say County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins’ decision is not justice.

“Everyone deserves justice and due process under the law,” said Rev. Todd Johnson, pastor at Second Baptist Church in Warren. “That has been robbed of Matt in this instance and we feel that the case that was presented was not strong and seemed as more of a defense of the police than a prosecutor’s report that would present fair evidence to try and get an indictment.”

“The bottom line — there was a life lost,” said Thomas Conley, with the Greater Warren Youngstown Urban League.

He said Burroughs’ death could have been avoided.

“Escalation happened, whether it’s the fault of Burroughs, the fault of police. The bottom line, it happened.”

Burroughs’ ex-girlfriend, Jennifer Cox, agrees.

“They could have arrested him, they could have Tased him,” she said. “They did not have to kill him like that.”

She said she understood Burroughs made mistakes in his life, but said he did not deserve to die.

“He still mattered. He was still somebody. He was my daughter’s dad. She’s 9 years old and she don’t have him anymore.”

Johnson ministers to several members of Burroughs’ family. He said he will keep advocating for the family and for Burroughs.

“We are more determined than ever, as a community, to stand up on behalf of Matthew Burroughs and to remain in this fight to get justice for him and for his family, for his children. We believe it is a cause worth fighting for.”

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