SAGINAW (WWJ/AP) – A Saginaw police supervisor has been demoted and two officers disciplined for their roles in the fatal shooting of a homeless, mentally ill man in a parking lot, city officials said Friday following a review of the case.
The on-scene supervisor during the July 1 shooting of 49-year-old Milton Hall was reprimanded and demoted to the rank of patrolman, Acting Police Chief Brian Lipe said, and the two officers being disciplined received reprimands for not following the department’s mobile video policy.
The command officer “failed to take command and control of the situation,” Lipe said at a news conference. Some patrol car video was working, but some in-car audio wasn’t turned on and some of the microphones worn by the officers didn’t have working batteries, he said.
Lipe said all the officers involved will return to active duty.
The incident with Hall began when a convenience store clerk reportedly called police to complain that Hall was becoming rude and combative after refusing to pay for coffee and other items. When officers arrived, Hall was in a parking lot on West Genessee Avenue, allegedly wielding a weapon.
According to investigators, Hall refused to drop a knife and six officers fired 46 shots at him, hitting him 11 times. Video taken on another witness’s cellphone and later obtained by CNN showed Hall collapsing in a hail of gunfire after police ordered him to drop the knife. View the video, here. (Warning: Video is very graphic and may be disturbing to some viewers.)
The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. John Conyers protested the killing and called for the officers to be punished.
Prosecutors and state officials announced this month that none of the officers would face criminal charges, noting that the officers had not acted with criminal intent when they opened fire on Hall. The task force that reviewed the officers’ conduct was appointed by City Manager Darnell Earley.
“This has been a very challenging situation for the entire community. Nevertheless, it was imperative that we examine all available policy and guideline sources to determine how best to respond to this issue from an employer/employee relationship perspective with an objective, comprehensive, transparent, and focused view of the facts,” Earley said in a statement.
“I am satisfied that this has been accomplished and I hereby concur with Chief Lipes’ recommendations,” said Earley.
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