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State DOJ releases investigation into shooting of Ricardo Hylton by Wilmington police

Delaware Public Media

For the second time this month, the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust has concluded police officers were justified in fatally shooting an armed civilian. 

The Delaware Department of Justice released the results of its latest police use of force investigation earlier this week. 

Wilmington Police Department officers Keith Johnson and Angeline DiFebo shot 35-year-old Ricardo Hylton several times last August. Both officers and multiple witnesses told investigators they saw Hylton raise a gun toward the officers just before he was shot.  

The officers said they feared for their safety and the safety of nearby pedestrians, which justifies their use of force under state law.

The state’s investigation determined the officers’ fear was objectively reasonable. Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings has criticizedthe state use of force standard as too lenient to officers and too subjective. She has said she wants it changed so that officers must prove their use of force was actually necessary. 

No body camera footage of the Hylton shooting was available, because Wilmington police do not wear body cameras. This has long drawn criticism from advocates, elected officials and city residents—including Hylton’s fiancee, Aisha Jones. 

After protests late this spring, Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki committed to finding money in the budget to fund a body camera program “without delay.” 

The program has yet to be rolled out, and its timeline remains uncertain. The Wilmington Police Department has a federal grant application pending to fund part of the program.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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