No charges in MP’s shooting of pedestrian
FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (AP) — An off-duty sheriff’s deputy will not be charged in the shooting death of a black pedestrian on a busy road earlier this year, a North Carolina prosecutor announced Thursday, saying that the deputy had reason to fear bodily harm and to defend himself.
The North Carolina District Attorneys Conference reviewed the January 8 shooting death of Jason Walker after the local district attorney recused himself from the case. In a letter Thursday, conference executive director Kimberly Overton Spahos wrote that she would not press charges against Jeffrey Hash, who was off duty at the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the shooting.
The letter, citing evidence collected by the State Bureau of Investigation, says Hash, who is white, stopped his personal vehicle in traffic about 30 feet (9 meters) from Walker when he saw him hit the road on January 8 in Fayetteville. . Prosecutors wrote that Walker ran forward, jumped on the hood of the truck, took off a windshield wiper and hit the windshield to the point of breaking it. Hash’s wife and daughter were inside.
After yelling at Walker to stop, Hash then got out of his truck and shot Walker four times after Walker lunged at him, according to the letter.
“In this case, the evidence clearly supports the conclusion that Hash reasonably believed that he, his wife, and his child were in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death at the hands of Walker,” the letter said, adding that Walker had made a “violent assault on the vehicle”.
The letter also said that when considering criminal charges, prosecutors must consider whether they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed.
Prosecutors wrote “while it is possible that other alternatives are available for Hash, the analysis is not and cannot be whether his actions were the only option or even the best option.”
The shooting caused demonstrators protests who questioned the authorities’ account of what happened.
A autopsy published in March discovered that Walker had head, chest, back and thigh injuries. The report noted that no alcohol or illegal drugs were found in his system.
Thursday’s prosecutor’s letter said Walker was screaming, waving his hands and appearing agitated as he ran down the road.
Two witnesses at the scene spoke to officers and were recorded on previously released police body camera video, including one who identified himself as Walker’s father. Witnesses also described how Walker jumped onto the vehicle and his father said Walker ripped off a windshield wiper. The videos do not show the shooting or what led up to it.
A lawyer for Walker’s family, Ben Crump, previously said a disagreement between a pedestrian and a sworn officer, who is trained to defuse situations, should not result in the use of deadly force.
Neither Crump nor a lawyer for Hash immediately responded to emails seeking comment.