Richmond Police Officer Michael Nyantakyi has been cleared in the shooting death of Marcus Peters, 24, an unarmed man involved in an altercation with Nyantakyi, back in May, along I-95.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney released the following statement:
After a comprehensive review of all of the information obtained through the investigation, we conclude that the officer killed Mr. Peters in an act of justifiable homicide.
The officer reasonably regarded Mr. Peters as a direct threat to his life and to the safety of those around him. A reasonable officer in this scenario would have believed that Peters was capable of overcoming the officer, taking control of the firearm and using it to harm the officer and others. Thus, the totality of the circumstances tragically warranted the use of lethal force.
A spokesperson for the police department sent us the following statement:
“The review of this incident by Commonwealth Attorney Michael Herring and his staff is a critical phase in the criminal investigation of this incident. I appreciate the thorough efforts of Mr. Herring and his staff and we respect the decision they have made. This incident will forever remain a tragedy for all those involved.”
Now that the review by the C. A.’s Office has been completed and a decision has been made, the RPD’s Internal Affairs Unit will open an administrative investigation into Officer Nyantaki’s actions to determine his compliance with departmental policies. The I.A.U. detectives will use elements of the Department-generated Force Investigation Team (FIT) report as the basis for their investigation. The findings of this second investigation will be reviewed internally and may be referred to the Disciplinary Review Office and to Chief Durham for action, if necessary. If personnel action is warranted, it will be taken at that time. Meanwhile, Officer Nyantaki, who has been on administrative leave during the criminal investigation, will be placed in an administrative assignment in a non-public contact position while the investigation is completed.
The Police Department will host a discussion on use of force, crisis intervention, and defensive tactics with the public during a town-hall style community meeting. A date, time and location has not yet been set for the event.
Regardless of your opinion on this case, it is clear that changes need to be made to policing practices across the country. A police officer should have the tools to help a man experiencing a mental crisis without shooting him to death. While I am not surprised that charges were not filed against the officer in this case, we should not have to be discussing this at all. Peters should still be alive, and receiving the help that he needed.
Mayor Levar M. Stoney on Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Use of Force Investigation:
“I thank the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for its careful examination of this important matter.
Regardless of the legal determination reached in this case, one thing is clear: The death of Marcus David Peters was a tragedy, and our prayers today remain with the family and all who have been affected by the unfortunate events of that day.
Several weeks ago, I met with the Peters family regarding their recommendations for changes in policies and procedures. We remain committed to assessing these protocols, and will continue working to ensure the safety and well-being of those who visit, live and work in our city.”
We will update you with more details when we have them.