SAGINAW (WWJ/AP) - A civil liberties group has asked federal officials to expand an investigation of the Saginaw Police Department launched after the fatal shooting of a homeless man.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said Thursday that the department’s “practices appear to illustrate a pattern of racial profiling.”
The U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is currently investigating the July 2012 death of Milton Hall, who was shot 11 times after refusing to drop a knife.
City of Saginaw spokeswoman Debbie Buck declined comment.
The ACLU has asked the Justice Department to look into allegations that Saginaw police have used minor infractions as a pretext for searching individuals or their cars and asking for identification or about other crimes. The group says the cases appear to involve black and Latino residents.
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 Saginaw County prosecutor said no charges would be filed, although some officers were disciplined by the police department. Months after the incident, officials purchased three non-lethal “bean-bag” guns for the department. Police said they had one bean-bag gun at the time of Hall’s death, but it was locked up and unavailable.
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