The Michigan police officers who fired their weapons 47 times, fatally shooting a homeless man after a confrontation over stolen coffee, won’t face federal charges, Rawstory reports.
Federal authorities including the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice announced earlier this week that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the six Saginaw police officers.
“After a thorough investigation, federal authorities have determined that this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to lead to a federal criminal prosecution of the police officers involved,” the agencies said in a joint statement viewed by Rawstory.
On the afternoon of July 1, 2012, police were called to investigate a report that a man had stolen a cup of coffee from a convenience store.
Rawstory notes that when the officers arrived, they found 49-year-old Milton Hall. They confronted the homeless Saginaw man, who was armed with a pocket knife and had a known history of mental illness.
A confrontation ensued in the parking lot, and in total, the police fired their weapons 47 times at Hall, striking him 11 times and killing him.
State prosecutors also declined to charge the officers after their investigation, concluding that Hall acted aggressively as he wielded the knife, Rawstory reports.
Hall’s mother, however, believes that her son’s death was an “execution by firing squad.” Rawstory notes that she filed a wrongful death suit in September against the city and nine officers, seeking compensation and punitive damages.
Her suit claims that then-Saginaw Police Sgt. Anajanette “A.J.” Wojciechowski was the first officer to arrive at the scene. She called for assistance because Hall was not “looking so nice.” and urged the other officers to hurry or she was “going to have to shoot this guy,” according to the suit viewed by Rawstory.
The suit alleges that the responding officers immediately surrounded Hall with their weapons drawn, and “repeatedly and aggressively taunted and threatened Hall with a police dog, which frightened and agitated him further.”
Hall then called 911 asking for a police supervisor’s help, saying that he was surrounded and defending himself with a pocket knife.
Hall was shot to death before any other officers could arrive.
“Hall’s call … went unheeded while (the officers) on the scene, without provocation, rapidly, recklessly, and needlessly elevated through the force continuum, culminating with deadly force being used by (the officers),” the suit claims.
The officers explained in their reports that they believed Hall posed a threat to them. Federal investigators said the evidence they examined, including two police cruisers' dashboard camera recordings of the shooting, did not show otherwise.
“Even if the officers were mistaken in their assessment of the threat posed by Hall, this would not establish that the officers acted willfully, or with an unlawful intent, when using deadly force against Hall,” the agencies said in their statement viewed by Rawstory.
Read more at Rawstory.