Officers who shot Milton Hall cleared of criminal wrongdoing
The Saginaw County Prosecutor and the Attorney Generalâ??s office cleared six Saginaw police officers of any criminal wrongdoing after a months-long investigation by Michigan State Police.
After 10 weeks of investigation surrounding the shooting that made national headlines, Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas emphatically announced Wednesday, â??There's insufficient credible evidence to criminally charge any of these officers with a crime rising from the death of Milton Hall on July 1st, 2012.â??
His office, along with the attorney general's, concluded after poring through hundreds of documents, and audio and video recordings and 20 sworn witness statements that the six officers involved in the shooting at the Riverview Plaza parking lot had no criminal intent.
The decision doesn't sit well with everyone.
"This is a criminal act," said Pastor Cirven Merrill.
For months, groups of citizens have cried foul over the shooting death of the homeless man, saying he was no threat to police that Sunday afternoon.
"Their life was not in danger because they are professionals,â?? Merrill said of the officers.
â??Their life was not in danger because it was 8 against 1."
Dash-cam video shows Milton Hall waving a knife in front of a patrol car, minutes after an officer responds to a 9-1-1 complaint. She requests backup.
"He's starting to move now,â?? she says in the call. â??We can't let him get out of this area, he's gonna kill somebody."
Thomas says Hall repeatedly refused officers' orders to drop the weapon, growing instead, increasingly agitated.
â??â??You better bust a capâ?? - meaning you better shoot me,â?? Thomas said Hall said. â??I'm gonna get me one of them."
At one point Hall dialed 9-1-1 himself, telling the dispatcher, â??I have my knife on me, I'm defending myself." The dispatcher interjects, "Sir, sir, sir - you gotta put that knife down."
After failing to disarm him, police shot Hall. Six of the eight responding offers fired a total of 47 shots. The medical examiner said 11 bullets hit Hall, including the fatal one to his pancreas.
"This was probably a perfect storm in which we had a very agitated person who's had some mental health problems in the past," Saginaw Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Browning said.
An unfortunate event, authorities say, but one that offered police no alternative.
The six officers will not face state criminal charges, but Prosecutor Thomas said federal charges or civil or employment liability could still be possible. The City of Saginaw is also conducting its own internal investigation.