LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- The case of a Louisville Metro Police officer who fatally shot a man charging at him with a flagpole last year will not be presented to a grand jury, clearing the officer of any criminal wrongdoing, WHAS11 has learned.
The deadly confrontation involving Officer Nathan Blanford was captured on a store surveillance video in June 2015 in Old Louisville.
Blanford, who has been on the force since 2005, caught up with Deng Manyoun just outside Smoker's Smoke Shop near the corner of 4th Street and West Oak Street in Old Louisville.
Manyoun, 35, had reportedly grabbed a woman's purse, threw her cell phone and was reportedly seen punching the woman.
The video shows Manyoun, appearing to become agitated during a brief conversation with Blanford. Manyoun walks out of video frame swinging his arms. Officer Blanford follows the suspect and then suddenly is seen retreating while reaching for his gun.
Manyoun enters the frame again--swinging a metal flag pole at the officer. The video shows Blanford back away from Manyoun, who continues to advance toward Blanford.
Blanford fired his gun, shooting Manyoun twice. He died at University Hospital.
"It would appear to me--based on my view of the video--that he felt threatened, that his life was in danger," LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad told reporters at a news conference publicly releasing the video WHAS 11 News had obtained one day earlier.
"We cherish the importance of human life. The last thing any officer wants to have to do is take a life," Conrad added at the time.
While the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office will not pursue any criminal charges in the case, the Louisville Metro Police Public Integrity Unit's investigative file was not immediately available for public inspection. A police spokesperson said the file was still under review. The unit investigates use of force cases involving LMPD and other local police agencies.
WHAS11 News, through Kentucky Open Records Laws, filed a request seeking a copy of the file since Blanford was cleared of criminal wrongdoing.
Conrad previously said dash cam footage from Blanford's police cruiser, as well as other video collected by detectives, would eventually be made public.
LMPD Use Of Force
LMPD's Use of Force Policy gives officers an escalating scale of options when it comes to using force. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, officers don't have to follow the scale from bottom to top but the degree of force used must be reasonable. Chief Conrad noted officers are not required to let the suspect hit them first or gain an advantage.
"Under our policy, officers are permitted to use whatever force is reasonable to protect others or themselves from bodily harm," Conrad explained.
The levels of control are officer presence, verbal direction, soft empty hand control and restraining devices (a control hold or handcuffs), chemical agent and CEW (using pepper spray or a Taser), hard empty hand (physically striking or kicking a suspect), impact weapon (using a baton), and deadly force (using a firearm or an impact weapon in a deadly spot).
At the time of the case involving Blanford, there had been 17 shootings involving LMPD officers since Chief Conrad took office in March 2012; four at that point in 2015. Officers were exonerated in eight of the shootings; one officer resigned with charges pending, five cases were still under investigation, and two were cleared by the Commonwealth Attorney's Office–but are still being further evaluated with internal investigations. Six of the 17 shootings were fatal.