MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A lawyer said Wednesday that he does not fear a possible federal investigation into the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old black man by his client, a white police officer, during a fight after a traffic stop in Memphis.
Art Quinn, the attorney representing Officer Connor Schilling, said his client was just doing his job when he tried to arrest Darrius Stewart, who was a passenger in a car stopped by Schilling for a headlight violation on July 17. Police have said Schilling put Stewart in the back seat of a squad car as he checked on two active warrants for Stewart.
Schilling returned to the car to put handcuffs on Stewart after a warrant was verified, police said. Stewart kicked the door and attacked the officer, beating Schilling with the handcuffs, police said.
Schilling shot Stewart with his duty weapon during the struggle, police said. Stewart died at a hospital.
"Officer Schilling was doing his job," Quinn said. "Mr. Stewart chose to resist the authority of Mr. Schilling."
A grand jury on Tuesday declined to indict Schilling after Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich recommended an indictment on charges of voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Memphis Democrat, and lawyers for Stewart's parents have called for a civil rights investigation by the Justice Department.
"Quite frankly, the evidence is not going to change," Quinn said. "I just don't fear an investigation by the federal government."
Louis Goggans, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Memphis, said in an email Wednesday that the Justice Department is monitoring the case, but he did not say whether federal investigators would get involved.
Schilling has been relieved of duty with pay. He faces an administrative hearing to determine his future with the department.
This story has been corrected to show that the lawyer does not fear a federal investigation into his client, not that the officer does not fear a federal investigation.