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Official City Response to Grand Jury Report

Official City Response to Grand Jury Report

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Published by WTVM News Leader 9
When Officer Phillip Hancock shot and wounded Michael Davidson in the line of duty a specific protocol was followed to investigate and review the case. This protocol was designed to insure that a professional, thorough and impartial investigation was conducted.
When Officer Phillip Hancock shot and wounded Michael Davidson in the line of duty a specific protocol was followed to investigate and review the case. This protocol was designed to insure that a professional, thorough and impartial investigation was conducted.

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Categories:Types, Legal forms
Published by: WTVM News Leader 9 on May 12, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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05/13/2014

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1 May 12, 2014 When Officer Phillip Hancock shot and wounded Michael Davidson in the line of duty a specific  protocol was followed to investigate and review the case. This protocol was designed to insure that a  professional, thorough and impartial investigation was conducted. Immediately after the shooting occurred, it was reported to the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI) and the Lee County District Attorney. The criminal investigation was conducted by the ABI, which has the best resources for this type of investigation. The ABI investigated the case by thoroughly  processing the crime scene and collecting evidence, interviewing all witnesses, testing the firearm used  by Officer Hancock and reviewing all relevant audio and video tapes. Throughout the investigation the ABI received full cooperation from all Opelika police officers. After the investigation was completed, the case file was referred to the Lee County District Attorney. Thereafter, the case was presented to the Lee County Grand Jury. The Grand Jury plays an important role in the criminal process. A Grand Jury can issue an indictment charging
the officer criminally, or return a “no true bill”. To indict, at least twelve (12)
grand jurors must find probable cause that the officer committed the charged crime. As there is generally no dispute that Officer Hancock intended to shoot at Mr. Davidson, the determination of whether the conduct was criminal is primarily a question of legal justification. A  police officer is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person when he believes it is reasonably necessary to defend himself or a third party from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. Therefore, the question presented in most officer-involved
 
2 shooting cases is whether, at the instant the officer fired the shot that wounded the person, the officer  believed, and in fact believed, that he or another person, was in imminent danger of deadly physical force. The great majority of officer-involved shootings throughout the country ultimately result from
what is commonly called the “split
-secon
d decision” to shoot. The split
-second decision is generally made to stop a real or perceived threat of aggressive behavior of the citizen. It is the split-second timeframe which typically defines the focus of the criminal review. It is a decision that does not provide the luxury of bright line determination. Police officers are not mind readers. They react quickly to evolving circumstances that confront them. Officers must have the discretion to use deadly force when appropriate. This awesome responsibility sets law enforcement apart from every other profession. The results of a split-second decision can affect entire police departments, families and communities for many years. Officers who  put on a gun and badge every day risk their lives to protect the community and their service is vital to keeping the public safe. A police officer may go through his or her entire career without ever drawing his or her weapon, but when the choice is made to employ a weapon, it is usually a split-second decision. Last week, a grand jury was impaneled to determine whether criminal charges should be brought. The grand jury decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge Officer Phillip Hancock with a crime. Thus, Phillip Hancock will not face criminal charges in connection with the shooting of Michael Davidson. We believe his decision to use deadly force was reasonable and legally justified under the facts and circumstances of this case. The Grand Jury has spoken and we respect the decision. We appreciate that not everyone may agree with the decision of the grand jury. We encourage anyone who wishes to express their feelings to do so respectfully.

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