EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Valentine's day is for love. In Diamond Belmonte's case, Monday's holiday is more specifically about the love she has for her brother Vincent, who was shot and killed by an East Cleveland police officer just over a year ago.
"I do feel better, I'm not going to lie this past year I was angry, like so angry," Diamond said. "When he died, they called my brother a carjacker, they called my brother a thief, they called him the situation, they called him everything else but his name. "
Her love led to writing a letter, asking for something unusual.
She wanted to sit across from the sergeant who shot and killed her brother following a police chase. She said that she came to the decision after realizing that he's the only one who has the answers she wants.
"My little brother has a daughter, I just asked him 'are you a sibling, are you a Dad?' All the simple things in life you get to enjoy, my brother don't get to enjoy no more," Diamond said.
Sergeant Larry McDonald was cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting death of Belmonte in October, but that doesn't stop the family's pain.
What started as police reacting to the loud muffler on a vehicle led to a car chase, then a foot chase, then according to McDonald, Belmonte reached into his pocket for a gun and McDonald fired three shots, killing him.
"Even looking at him, do I feel as if he was remorseful? I do, he was just as nervous in there as I was," Diamond said.
For Diamond, this is a quest for closure, and a chance to make sure something productive comes out of what happened on January 5, 2021.
For East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner, he hopes this shows the department is willing to work with the community.
"Nothing that we, he, they can do will ever bring Vincent back," Gardner said.
While we spoke to Chief Gardner, Sergeant McDonald was not there for the press conference.
One of the biggest questions Diamond was able to ask was why her brother was shot as opposed to tased.
The Chief confirmed Sergeant McDonald didn't have a taser with him, so it wasn't an option.
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