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Delaware DOJ revisits McDole shooting, still will not charge officers

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Jeremy McDole's sister, Keandra, leads a protest in Wilmington this summer to demand the police involved in his death be charged

The Delaware Department of Justice took another look at the 2015 police killing of Jeremy McDole after his family renewed claims of new witnesses and a planted gun. The state does not plan to pursue charges against the officers involved. 


The Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust released its reviewof the McDole case one day before the five-year anniversary of his death. The Division did not find cause to change DOJ’s 2016 charging decisions.

The original investigation into McDole’s shooting by several Wilmington police officers concluded that none of the officers, including Joseph Dellose, who DOJ called out for “extraordinarily poor police work,” could be charged under state law.  

The statute of limitations on most charges that could be brought against them runs out Wednesday.

Jeremy McDole’s sister, Keandra, led several protests this summer demanding the case be reopened and the officers be charged. Keandra and private investigator Terence Jones claimed there were new witnesses—and the gun police said they found on McDole was planted. 

DOJ officials say Attorney General Kathy Jennings instructed the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust to review the case after these claims were presented to the agency in June. McDole’s family’s claims about the planted gun date back to 2016.

The state sought to put questions about the gun to rest in the new report— with new interviews and a new ballistics expert. The report also cites a previously undisclosed analysis that found a DNA profile matching McDole’s on part of the gun.

It is unclear why the DNA analysis, dated Dec. 4, 2015, was not mentioned in DOJ's lengthy 2016 report.


“I would have to speculate to answer [why it was not previously disclosed],” said DOJ spokesperson Mat Marshall in an email Tuesday. “The only thing I can speak to with any certainty is what we’re doing now.”

In a statement, Attorney General Kathy Jennings called the new report’s findings “thorough and unambiguous.”


"Charging decisions under the laws at the time have not changed," Jennings said. "Neither has our resolve for reform. We cannot undo the tragedies of the past, but we can work to prevent them from reoccurring."


Jennings said she continues to advocate for an objective Use of Force standard in state code and for a statewide civilian review boardwith subpoena power. 


Local advocates renewed calls for these and other reforms amid nationwide protests against police brutality this year. 


This story has been updated. 

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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