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Mother of murder victim sues Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson for causing her son’s death by obstructing justice in criminal investigations involving his grandsons

This morning, Andrea Parra filed a lawsuit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas against Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams, alleging that these public officials intentionally covered up for gang-related crimes involving the Mayor’s grandsons. According to the lawsuit, the Mayor’s obstruction of justice directly caused the murder of Ms. Parra’s son, Antonio Parra, a 30-year-old father of a 9-year-old daughter who was shot to death in broad daylight, in what Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley called “a very brutal homicide,” by two men who fled the scene in a car registered to the Mayor’s grandson, Frank Q. Jackson.

Antonio Parra

Frank Q. Jackson and the Mayor’s 16-year old great-grandson live in the Mayor’s home in Cleveland and have an extensive history of violent and gang-related criminal activity that has long been known to the Mayor. As detailed in the Complaint, the Mayor has knowingly and repeatedly used the influence of his public office to obstruct the investigation and prosecution of cases involving his grandsons despite his knowledge of their proclivity toward violent and gang-related crime. This includes a June 2019 incident where the Mayor’s influence caused the City Prosecutor to cover up for Frank Q. Jackson despite extensive evidence—including multiple witnesses and surveillance video—showing that he brutally assaulted an 18-year old woman, including by repeatedly striking her with a metal trailer hitch.

Antonio Parra’s murder took place two months later, in the wake of this unpunished assault, and when police identified the murderers’ getaway car as belonging to Frank Q. Jackson, the Mayor told the police that his grandson would not answer their questions. Due to the Mayor’s interference, the police failed to question Jackson or take him into custody on the date of Parra’s murder, failed to conduct a gunshot residue test that would have shown if Jackson had fired a gun, and failed to record their interactions with the Jacksons on their body cameras, all despite established departmental policies and procedures to the contrary. To date, the Mayor and Cleveland’s Chief of Police Calvin Williams have refused to appoint an independent investigation into Parra’s murder despite the obvious conflicts of interest and despite demands from citizens, public officials, and the press.

“Andrea Parra has every reason to believe that her son would be alive today if it weren’t for the Mayor’s efforts to cover up for his grandsons’ crimes,” said Peter Pattakos, lead attorney for Ms. Parra and her son’s estate. “Mayor Jackson was elected by citizens who entrusted him with the responsibility to enforce the laws in Cleveland. It was especially important that he fulfill this sworn duty with respect to criminal activity by his own family members, but he did the opposite, abusing his influence to foster a culture of impunity that only emboldened his grandsons and their affiliates to commit increasingly violent crimes. Ms. Parra is hardly insensitive to the challenges of raising children in Cleveland’s inner city where the same corporate interests that have gotten Mayor Jackson elected to an unprecedented four terms in office have left his neighbors so far behind. But that is no excuse for the Mayor and Police Chief to apply a different set of rules to the Mayor’s relatives. Ms. Parra, her granddaughter, and the public are entitled to answers about the Mayor’s shocking lack of accountability here. Nothing will bring Antonio back to life but we can at least obtain some justice for his family in Ohio’s courts and help ensure that criminal laws are equally enforced throughout the City, County, and State regardless of a suspect’s status or family connections. We encourage anyone with information about the Mayor’s efforts to cover up for his grandsons to contact us and we will do our best to protect your confidentiality to the fullest extent allowed by law.”

The lawsuit, which alleges claims by Ms. Parra and Antonio’s estate against the Mayor and Police Chief for intentional infliction of emotional distress and obstruction of justice, in addition to the wrongful death claim against the Mayor, is captioned Andrea Parra v. Frank G. Jackson, Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas No. CV-19-924682, with Judge John P. O’Donnell presiding. In addition to Mr. Pattakos, the Plaintiffs are also represented by attorney Rachel Hazelet of the Pattakos Law Firm in Fairlawn, Ohio. A copy of the filed complaint is available here.