One officer gets demoted; two others "disciplined"
The incident happened in July and was caught on tape
The incident had been caught on video
Three Saginaw, Michigan, police officers involved in the shooting and killing of a homeless man have been punished, a police official said Friday.
The on-site supervisor was demoted to patrolman, said Acting Saginaw Police Chief Brian Lipe.
Two others were “disciplined,” he said, for violating department policies in connection with the shooting. Three of their five dash-cam videocameras were not working properly. No other detail was provided on how the officers were disciplined.
The incident occurred July 1. Milton Hall, 49, had been arguing with officers in a parking lot next to a shuttered Chinese restaurant when he was shot multiple times by police, in full view of passing motorists and while he was holding a knife.
A video of the incident was exclusively shown in a report by CNN’s Jason Carroll weeks later.
Six of the eight police officers opened fire, Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas said earlier this month. All six are remaining on the police force.
After a 10-week investigation, police determined that the officers would not face criminal charges because they had not acted with criminal intent when they opened fire, Thomas said.
Police responded to a call from a woman at a nearby mini mart before the shooting. She complained that the Hall was rude and aggressive, and had refused to pay for a coffee and other items. She also said Hall spit on someone inside the store.
Hall threatened a responding female police officer with a knife. Investigators said Hall refused to drop the weapon, despite police orders to relinquish the knife and came within a few feet of the officers.
Thomas said six of the eight police officers opened fire as Hall approached. The officers had been equipped with stun guns, though they “aren’t 100% effective,” he added. The officers fired 46 rounds, striking Hall 11 times, according to Thomas.
Investigators also showed video of the incident, captured by a dashboard camera inside a police cruiser at the scene.
The eight officers, as well as a police dog, had formed a semi-circle around Hall, who did not appear to back down during the confrontation, according to the video.
“They didn’t shoot him right away at the beginning,” said Thomas. “They tried to look for non-lethal options here.” Thomas said “there is a need for greater (police) training,” as well as a need for more access to non-lethal weapons.
Hall’s family said that he had a history of mental illness.
Jewel Hall, the victim’s mother, has said that she and her attorney were conducting a separate investigation. They are requesting access to additional documents as well as the autopsy report.
In a statement released through her attorney, Hall said she was “disappointed in the prosecutor’s report finding that the actions of the six Saginaw police officers who so brutally shot and killed my son, Milton Hall, were justified.”
“If there is any benefit to come from Milton’s tragic death, we would hope that it would be to raise awareness of the challenges confronting the Saginaw Police Department and Saginaw elected officials,” she said in the statement. “The challenges are serious, systemic, wide-ranging and deeply rooted.”