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Civil Rights Complaint Dismissed

January 9, 1987

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) _ The U.S. Justice Department has decided not to pursue a civil rights complaint in the shooting of a Troy teen-ager that touched off three nights of demonstrations.

Troy Police Chief Charles W. Frank said today the decision is a vindication of the action of the two officers who shot Kerry D. Helton, 18, at least 11 times after he allegedly attacked them with a knife at his mother’s house.

The Justice Department also declined to take any action on a civil rights complaint filed by John W. Compton, one of more than two dozen people arrested during the demonstrations after the June 9 shooting.

The demonstrations, which began peacefully on Troy’s downtown square, escalated to rock- and bottle-throwing, although no one was seriously injured.

‴I’d say this was the result we had expected,″ Frank said. However, he declined much further comment because of pending litigation.

Alice Robbins, Helton’s mother, who filed the civil rights complaint, has an $85 million wrongful death lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Dayton.

Ms. Robbins does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, John Holden, was out of the office this morning, a secretary said.

James Clark, leader of a citizens group formed to protest Helton’s shooting, also was unavailable for comment, his daughter said. The police officers involved, James Fox and Steve Cruea, have unlisted telephone numbers.

″After a careful review of (the FBI) report, we conclude that this matter should be closed,″ The Justice Department said in a letter to Frank. ″Accordingly, this department has no intention of taking any further action at this time.″

A Miami County grand jury previously refused to return indictments in the shooting.

Reports by the city and by Miami County Prosecutor Jeff Wellbaum clash with Mrs. Robbins’ version of events as presented in her lawsuit.

Among other things, her lawsuit says that although she called police to the house after Helton fought with another teen-ager, she never asked police to kick her son out. Frank said at the time that Mrs. Robbins told Fox and Cruea to remove her son, and that is why they kicked down the door to the bedroom where Helton had holed up.

They fired after Helton allegedly lunged at them with a knife and a studded glove.

A coroner’s report later showed that Helton was legally drunk at the time.

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