Former officer reacts to Wicker case decision

Former officer reacts to Wicker case decision

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Former Louisville Metro Police Officer Richard Pearson says he's been on the scene of several officer-involved shootings during his 22-year police career, and after reviewing the body camera video in the Darnell Wicker shooting, he says the officers did follow protocol and training procedures.

“I don't know exactly why these officers decided to fire when they fired, but I'm sure in their minds that they felt that they were being threatened,” Pearson said.

But he says he questions the Commonwealth's Attorney's decision.

“I am surprised that it didn't go to the Grand Jury simply because if you make the unilateral decision as the Commonwealth's Attorney that you're going to move forward to the Grand Jury or drop a case, then that falls back on you,” he said.

Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine presented evidence from the case, including interviews with the two officers that fired the shots.

“He looks me dead in the eyes and I see pure evil.  It looks like he wants to kill me,” said Officer Beau Gadegaard in his interview.

“The guy opened the door and was standing at the door with it had to been a 3-5 foot knife. I mean it was big,” said Officer Taylor Banks in his interview.

Wine also showed the tree saw he says Wicker had in his hand at the time of the shooting.

“They've got somebody with a weapon raised above his head coming toward them and they're trained to shoot until the force moving toward them stops,” said Tom Wine, Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Pearson says each situation is different, but when someone presents a deadly weapon officers use their discretion on whether or not to shoot.

“The point at which you actually discharge your firearm varies from situation and there is no one set in stone answer.  You have to go off what you're looking at.  And in this situation what they were looking at they felt a great enough threat that they felt they needed to discharge their firearms,” Pearson said.

Even though the officers will not be charged criminally, there is still a pending wrongful death lawsuit.  Darnell Wicker's daughters are scheduled to address the media Thursday afternoon with their reaction. 

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad says the two officers who shot Wicker will return to normal duty while there is an administrative investigation into their actions.  That should take about three months to complete.  

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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