A Baltimore police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting a black teenage driver last year.
According to AP, Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates has declined to bring criminal charges against officer Connor Murray, who shot and killed Donnell Rochester,18, in February of 2022.
After reviewing evidence from the year-old shooting, Bates concluded in his findings that the officers involved in the shooting acted “reasonably and lawfully” when they opened fire on Rochester’s moving vehicle. His report also said that Rochester was driving toward Murray, creating a “life-threatening situation.”
Robert Mauri, the other officer who fired his weapon at Rochester is also not expected to face any criminal charges.
Bates’ report was released just days before a state independent investigation found that Rochester “no longer posed a threat” when officer Murray fired the fatal shot.
The state investigation, which was conducted by the Maryland Attorney General’s Independent Investigations Division, also found that prosecutors could have likely proved that officer Murray committed voluntary manslaughter because his fourth shot, which killed Rochester was unreasonable.
“Officer Connor Murray already had dodged Rochester’s vehicle and was beside the car when he fired a fourth time, with no other officers or people in harm’s way — a circumstance where deadly force would not be reasonable, necessary or proportional,” said a report released by the investigative unit.
The report also said that officers are trained to continually reassess threat levels and change their response accordingly, but instead, Murray didn’t “immediately reduce the level of force used when the threat posed diminished.”
It’s important to note that none of the 27 cases reviewed by the Independent Investigations Division since it was created in 2021 have resulted in charges against police officers.
Officer Murray and officer Mauri have been placed on administrative duties while internal investigations proceed.
On Feb. 19, Donnell Rochester was killed by police after officers attempted to stop him for warrants connected to him failing to appear in court. According to reports Murray fired a total of found rounds. Mauri fired two rounds after he saw the car driving toward Murray.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Rochester was shot in the right triceps and right upper chest, likely from one round. The only shot fired from his right side was Murray’s fourth shot.
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