Michigan Police Will Face No Charges for Shooting Homeless Man 11 Times for Stealing a Cup of Coffee

News & Politics

Police officers in Michigan involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless man during a confrontation over stolen coffee will not be facing federal charges, Raw Story reports. Authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI, announced Tuesday, February 25 that there was not significant enough evidence to charge the six Saginaw police officers with manslaughter.

“After a thorough investigation, federal authorities have determined that this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to lead a federal criminal prosecution of the police officers involved,” the agencies said in a joint statement.

The incident took place on the afternoon of July 1, 2012, when the police were called to investigate a report that 49-year-old Milton Hall, a homeless Saginaw man with a known history of mental illness, had stolen a cup of coffee from a convenience store. After arriving to the scene, officers found Hall armed with a pocket knife. It was during the confrontation in a parking lot that police fired their weapons 47 times at Hall, hitting him 11 times and fatally wounding him.

Hall’s mother has stated that her son’s death amounted to an “execution by firing squad,” and filed a wrongful death suit in September against the city and the nine officers involved in the case.

Hall’s mother’s suit claims that then-Saginaw Police Sgt. Anajanette “A.J.” Wojciechowski was the first officer to arrive at the scene, only calling for assistance because Hall was, according to her, “not looking so nice.”

Wojciechowski urged the other officers to hurry or she was going to be forced “to shoot this guy,” the suit recounts. Once the responding officers arrived, they immediately surrounded Hall with their weapons pointed at him, and “repeatedly and aggressively taunted and threatened Hall with a police dog, which frightened and agitated him further.”

It was during Hall’s call to 911—where he attempted to explain to a police officer that he was surrounded and defending himself with a pocket knife—that he was shot to death before assistance could be sent to the scene.

“Hall’s call…went unheeded while [the officers] on the scene, without provocation, rapidly, recklessly and needlessly elevated through the force continuum, culminating with deadly force being used by [the officers],” the suit clams.

Civilian witnesses recorded parts of the incident on their cell phones, with the entire altercation captured through the dashboard camera in the police cruises. Officers explained afterwards that they believed Hall posed a thread to them, with the prosecution even denying charging the officers over the belief that Hall acted aggressively.

“Even if the officers were mistaken in their assessment of the threat posed by Hall, this would not establish that the officers acted willfully, or with an unlawful intent, when using deadly force against hall,” the agencies said in the statement.  The result of Hall’s mother’s suit is still pending. 

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