Michigan police officers fired 47 shots at a homeless man armed only with a pocket knife. Despite 11 of these shots striking the man and leading to his death, the six law enforcement officials involved in the incident are not going to face any charges.
The incident took place on July 1, 2012 after Milton Hall, a 49-year-old homeless man, was accused of stealing a cup of coffee in a convenience store. When officers arrived on the scene, Hall was still in the parking lot. That’s when a confrontation began, and the officers fired their fatal shots.
Hall’s mother subsequently filed a wrongful death suit, which was investigated by both the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI. Both organizations claimed that, despite the overwhelming amount of video evidence from civilian cell phones and police dashboard cameras, the officers did not act with excessive force.
“After a thorough investigation, federal authorities have determined that this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to lead a federal criminal prosecution of the police officers involved,” a joint statement released by the agencies reads, according to Raw Story.
According to MLive, Hall had a history of mental illness and may have posed a threat to the officers. The federal investigation report noted that the officers’ reports were also consistent with what occurred at the scene of the incident.
“In these reports, the officers who discharged their weapons explained that they did so because they believed Hall posed an imminent threat to the officers’ safety,” the report reads, “Even if the officers were mistaken in their assessment of the threat posed by Hall, this would not establish that the officers acted willfully, or with an unlawful intent, when using deadly force against Hall.”
The unfortunate incident involving Hall has brought many members of the Saginaw, Michigan community together to mourn the man’s loss and better prepare for future interactions with local law enforcement agencies.