Akron Police Chief Stephen Mylett said last week that the department’s investigation into the fatal beating of 17-year-old Ethan Liming found no evidence that the killing was a hate crime.
Ethan, who is white, was reportedly beaten to death near basketball courts of NBA star and political activist LeBron James’ I PROMISE School in Akron on June 2. Since the incident, three black males — Donovon Jones, 21; Tyler Stafford, 19; and Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20 — have been arrested in connection to the boy’s death.
Mylett “confirmed new details Wednesday and said there is no evidence the murder was a hate crime,” Cleveland 19 reported.
“I am happy to report that today, officers with the Akron Police Department, made several arrests in connection with the death of Ethan Liming,” the police chief said in a statement.
“We thank the members of the community for their outpouring of support that helped investigators throughout this investigation,” he continued. “We will continue to follow any leads that will result in bringing those responsible for Ethan’s death to justice.”
“While I believe the news of the arrests will be welcomed by Ethan’s family and loved ones, we all recognize that nothing will bring Ethan back,” Mylett added. “Violence in this country must stop. We are losing too many lives to senseless acts of violence.”
Bill Liming, Ethan’s father, told News 5 Cleveland last week that his son’s two friends, who are black, tried to rescue the 17-year-old while he was still breathing, but were chased and one was assaulted by the perpetrators, who then “finished my son off.”
“It’s been said that they abandoned Ethan and it’s not true,” said Bill, a reverend. “They did everything they possibly could to help Ethan. They called 911 to get help. And when Ethan was knocked out on the ground, his two African-American friends tried to pick up his body and put them in the car, to help save his life. He was still alive at that point. He was still breathing.”
The Liming family expressed their gratitude to their community in a recent statement.
“Our whole family is beyond thankful for the help the community has given us,” the family said. “Throughout this whole process we’ve seen horrific things, but the good we’ve seen is just so much brighter.”
“We love our son, and we miss him dearly,” they added.