Ohio Police Officer Charged in Shooting Death of Black Woman in No Knock Drug Raid


LIMA, Ohio — A special prosecutor says a white police officer has been charged in the shooting death of a black woman during a January drug raid in Lima. An Allen County grand jury today indicted a Lima police sergeant on two misdemeanors for shooting 26-year-old Tarika Wilson to death and injuring her 14-month-old son during a Jan. 4 drug raid at her home.

The special grand jury, which met last Wednesday and Thursday under the direction of Special Prosecutor Jeffrey Strausbaugh of Defiance County, indicted Sgt. Joseph A. Chavalia, 52, for negligent homicide and negligent assault.

Sergeant Chavalia, who has been on paid administrative leave since the fatal shooting, was expected to be arraigned later this morning in Allen County Common Pleas Court.

Police said they were prepared to handle any backlash from the news. The shooting raised concerns about the way African-Americans are treated by the mostly white Lima police department. Wilson was biracial; Sergeant Chavalia is white.

The Lima police department’s Special Weapons and Tactical team executed a “no-knock” search warrant at Wilson’s Third Street home about 8:15 p.m. Jan. 4.

Officers arrested her boyfriend, Anthony Terry, on drug charges and said they found suspected marijuana and crack cocaine in the house.

Terry, 31, was later indicted for three counts of trafficking in crack cocaine, six counts of permitting drug abuse, and four counts of trafficking in marijuana for incidents occurring between September 2007 and Jan. 4, the day of the raid. He is scheduled to go to trial April 1 in Allen County Common Pleas Court.

Sergeant Chavalia was hired by Lima police in January 1977 and promoted to sergeant in 1990. A member of the department’s SWAT team since 1986, he wrote a comprehensive use-of-force policy for Lima police in 1990.

The incident was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation as well as the FBI, which is examining the case for possible civil rights violations. [MORE]