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Officers will not be charged in shooting death of Jeremy McDole

Delaware Public Media

The state Attorney General’s office has issued its findings in shooting death of Jeremy McDole.


The state Dept. of Justice says it will not pursue any charges against the four Wilmington police officers involved last September when the 28 year-old, wheelchair-bound McDole was shot and killed.

Its report says it found three of those officers Senior Corporal Thomas Silva, Corporal Thomas Lynch, and Corporal James MacColl believed – at the moment they fired– that doing so was necessary to protect themselves, or others, against death or serious physical injury.

DOJ did consider a felony assault charge against the fourth officer - Corporal Joseph Dellose, who it says confronted McDole rather than communicating with officers already on the scene and then fired his weapon – creating uncertainty where the gunfire was coming from. But DOJ says after consulting with use of force experts, including those who recommended charges in the Tamir Rice case in Cleveland  - it concluded the defense would present unchallenged expert testimony that Dellose’s conduct was reasonable.

The report does say Dellose’s conduct was “extraordinarily poor police work” and he should not be employed by Wilmington police in a role that would have him carrying a firearm.

The report also took Wilmington Police to task, saying it found “serious deficiencies” with how Wilmington Police prepares its officers for situations involving McDole.

The McDole family issued a statement disagreeing with the DOJ decision not to file charges.

"Our family disagrees with the conclusions of the report not to charge any officer with a crime which seems to reflect the historic fact that we believe that no police officer in Delaware has ever been charged with a crime for the fatal use of force on a civilian," read the statement released by law firm representing the family, Jacobs  & Crumplar.

The family adds it will continue to pursue their civil case against the City of Wilmington.

"Jeremy was paralyzed and he could not run or hide. He was sitting in broad daylight out in the open with plenty of nearby cover to protect the police. Jeremy was not combative or physically aggressive, nor did he say anything threatening or verbally taunt the police. He was not fleeing from the scene of a felony crime which involved serious physical injury, or a threat of imminent harm to anyone. Jeremy's assailants never verbally warned him that deadly force would be used against him to take his life if their commands were not followed," said the statement. "Due either to their poor training or their lack of qualifications to be police officers licensed to use deadly force to kill, the shots fired that day were unnecessary. The tactical response reflected deliberate indifference to the life of Jeremy.

Mayor Dennis Williams' office also offered a statement responding to the DOJ report.  It supported the decision not to file charges against the officers involved, but took issue with the criticism of the Wilmington's police training. 

"During the course of the DOJ’s investigation, the City offered to provide the DOJ with access to a WPD training officer to explain WPD’s program of training and instruction.  DOJ declined the City’s offer, said the statement. "In addition, during the DOJ investigation, the City was not given notice of the issues identified by the DOJ, nor an opportunity to address them, before the report was issued.  The WPD continually strives for improvement, and will fully consider the matters highlighted in the DOJ report. 

The mayor's office says it will respond to the DOJ's criticisms more completely in the pending civil suit against the city.

McDole Report by Delaware Public Media

McDole Family Statement by Delaware Public Media

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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