The staff and board of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless have our Board Treasurer, Michelle Russell, in our thoughts and prayers over the loss of her brother Timothy. His memorial service was today, and featured a moving tribute by his family and friends.
They remembered him as a man of God who had a thirst for life. Timothy had some rough times, but was trying to get his life in order at the time of his death. He was a member of the Twinsburg Seventh Day Adventist church, and was fondly remembered by his Pastor Steven Valles. Russell was a laborer, and had one son also named Timothy.
The family is trying to make it through this tough time by coming together to support each other. They talked about all the questions they have had over the last week. The family of Malissa Williams were in attendance, and were also in shock over this incident. We hope to have a memorial for Williams over the next few weeks so that her friends in the homeless community can grieve.
We also wait for some of the questions to be answered by the County and the State of Ohio investigating this tragedy. We hope that people can contain their anger while the investigation is completed. We hope that people do not stereotype all police as acting in this manner. We also trust that people will not blame the victims who lost their lives fleeing an army of police while this investigation is taking place.
I heard from a number of people living in the shelters that they were afraid that relations between the safety forces and homeless people would deteriorate. I think that the City put to rest any doubts about whether Russell or Williams were using a gun in their meeting earlier this week, but there may be some angry officers who may blame homeless people for the negative publicity. Every media story and every news item only brings up more questions. It was a sad day for the Russell family, the homeless community, African Americans who see this through the prism of the civil rights movement and a setback in relations between the police and the public. Rest in peace Timothy.
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