No charges for Racine officer in shooting death of armed man who fled traffic stop in May

NOW: No charges for Racine officer in shooting death of armed man who fled traffic stop in May

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Racine police officer will not face criminal charges after shooting and killing a man that fled a traffic stop back in May.

Tuesday District Attorney Patricia Hanson released a report that says the officer was justified in shooting Da'Shontay King.

The district attorney says the officer faces no criminal liability because Da'Shontay King's behavior posed a reasonable and imminent threat.

Also Tuesday, the police department showed some of the body camera video of the shooting. King's family gathered outside the courthouse.

At a news conference, Police Chief Maurice Robinson said, "To be clear: Da'Shontay King made a decision to leave his home and drive while armed with the handgun."

At the time, the Racine Police Department was executing search warrants on known people. King had been convicted of a felony back in 2003 and twice was guilty of felony possession of a firearm by a felon. A search warrant signed by a judge said there was reasonable suspicion he was again in possession of a firearm.

Chief Robinson said, "A felony traffic stop authorizes a higher level of engagement than a stop for a simple traffic violation."

After fleeing the traffic stop, King pulled into a driveway, got out, and ran. In the report, the officer said King had his hands at his waist as if he was holding something, and said the officer immediately thought King had a gun.

Chief Robinson said, "He gives him orders to stop, which you just heard, and warns him of the possibility of the use of deadly force."

King did not stop. He climbed over a wall and kept running from the officer. Chief Robinson continued, "Once again, Da'Shontay King decides to keep running rather than submit to arrest."

Then, while running, King dropped his gun. "Rather than continuing to run without the gun, or submit to arrest, Da'Shontay King decided to re-arm himself," Chief Robinson said.

In the report, the officer said he feared for his life and fired his weapon three or four times.

King was hit three times, twice in the chest and once in the abdomen. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.

The decision to not charge the officer was posted on the district attorney's website before King's family could meet with her or see the body camera video.

William Sulton, the King family's attorney, said of the decision, "Really what it represents is the opinion of somebody considering whether to charge an officer with a crime."

Sulton said the officer did not follow best practices. And he was critical of the DA, saying the decision to not charge the officer came before the cause of death was released. "To me, I think this was a rather quick decision that was made, and certainly the district attorney is entitled to her opinion, but we strongly disagree with it."

An autopsy had already been performed, but the medical examiner's office is still waiting on toxicology results.

The gun Da'Shontay King dropped before he was shot had 15 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. A crime lab report tied it to a shooting in Racine in April a few weeks prior.

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