DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — A Dearborn police officer facing a lawsuit over the fatal shooting of a Black man in 2015 has died, authorities said.
Officer Chris Hampton, 33, killed himself last week, according to the Wayne County medical examiner. A funeral was held Wednesday.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Impacting Health & Well-Being Across Metro Region
Hampton’s death is a “tragic situation,” police Chief Ronald Haddad told the Detroit Free Press.
In December 2015, Hampton was conducting a traffic stop when he recognized Kevin Matthews walking by. Matthews was suspected of trying to steal a beverage from a gas station earlier that day.
Matthews, 35, was fatally shot at the end of a foot chase and intense physical struggle. The officer said Matthews was a threat because he was grabbing for Hampton’s gun.READ MORE: Detroit Police Department To Host Drive-Up Candy Stations On Oct. 31 At All Precincts
But two gun experts who analyzed the evidence believe the 215-pound officer was standing over the 140-pound Matthews and shooting down. Nine bullets struck him. There were no witnesses to the shooting or video of the final moments.
Lawyers for Matthews’ family “raised a genuine issue of material fact regarding the circumstances surrounding the shooting and Officer Hampton’s credibility, which must be resolved” by a jury, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh said in 2019.
Settlement talks were conducted Wednesday but no deal was reached, according to the court file.MORE NEWS: Metro Detroit Woman Files Lawsuit Against Walmart, Says Discriminated Against By Managers
Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy didn’t file charges, saying Hampton was defending himself.
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