DEARBORN (WWJ) – Criminal charges will not be filed against two Dearborn police officers who shot and killed two people in separate cases.
In making the announcement Wednesday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, in both instances, the officers were defending themselves.
In both cases, the suspect killed was black and the cop was white.
The first took place in December of last year. Kevin Matthews, 36, was shot by a Dearborn police officer who off-duty in the Dearborn-Detroit area. Worthy said the officer recognized Matthews as a suspect wanted on misdemeanor probation violation. Matthews fled from the cop and then struggled with the officer in the backyard of a home. Worthy said that officer then shot Matthews nine times after he pulled the ammunition magazine from the officer’s duty belt.
Worthy cited an autopilot report which concluded that the shots were fired upward and at “very close range” and were consistent with Matthews’ have been on top of the officer. [More on this case].
Then, in January of this year, Worthy said 31-year-old Janet Wilson caused a scene at Fairlane Mall, and security called Dearborn polcie to help. When officers tried to stop the woman on Hubbard Drive near the mall, Worthy saidWilson then drove at the officer — and he fired into the car window, killing her.
Police said following the shooting that Wilson, who was not carrying a firearm, was “armed” with her car. “She had a 3,000-pound weapon called a vehicle,” said MSP First Lt. Mike Shaw. [More on this case].
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said Worthys’ decision in both cases makes sense.
“The jury has to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the cops intentionally murdered these two people — and that’s just not the case,” said Langton. “There’s plenty of evidence, as outlines by the prosecutor here, that the cops were defending themselves: self defense.”
“These police officers were looking at murder,” Langton said. “But if a police officer could tell a jury, ‘Hey, I was only doing this as self defense; because these guys were coming at me, because they weren’t obeying a lawful command of a police officer — the jury has some reasonable doubt, and that’s what was going on here.”
Worthy’s announcement comes a couple of weeks after a jury deadlocked and a mistrial was declared in the case of an officer charged with murder in South Carolina — possibly the most high-profile police shooting of the year.
The incident, caught on video, sparked outrage nationwide as the white cop was seen firing multiple shots at the back of black suspect Walter Scott as he tried to run away.