Prosecutor: Alabama officer who shot man won't face charges

AP News
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Posted: Nov 01, 2016 5:19 PM

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A white police officer who shot and killed a 19-year-old black man during a traffic stop in south Alabama won't face charges after a grand jury decided not to indict him, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich announced that no criminal charges will be brought against Mobile police Officer Harold Hurst, who fatally shot Michael Moore on June 13, according to local media. Rich said 17 grand jurors heard more than 40 hours of testimony before deciding not to return an indictment.

The grand jury report says that after carefully considering the facts and the law, grand jurors "determined that Officer Hurst acted reasonably, justifiably, and in accordance with all applicable laws. The officer had a right to protect himself, and a duty to neutralize the threat to innocent civilians in this populated neighborhood."

Federal authorities are also investigating the shooting and Mobile police Chief said Hurst will remain on administrative leave until a U.S. Department of Justice investigation is complete, local media reported.

Grand jury proceedings are secret and Rich said no additional information would be released. But Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson put out a statement calling on the district attorney to release a transcript of the grand jury proceedings, "so that the remaining questions about the events, evidence and investigations have the best chance of being answered," local media reported.

Barber said in June that Hurst initiated the traffic stop after seeing a vehicle driven by Moore make an erratic turn. Hurst asked Moore for his license and registration, but Moore failed to give either and also gave the officer a false name, Barber said.

When Hurst called in the plate number, he determined the car had been stolen, and he told Moore to step out of the vehicle. Hurst noticed a gun in Moore's waistband and ordered him not to reach for it, Barber said. Moore disobeyed that order, and the officer shot him three times, Barber said. The officer fired another shot when Moore reached for the gun again when as he was on the ground, Barber said.

The shooting was not recorded on video because Hurst was on his way to report for duty and hadn't stopped by his precinct to pick up his body camera, Barber has said. Body camera video from other officers who responded does not show the shooting.