Shooting of Jeremy McDole

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Shooting of Jeremy McDole
Police pointing guns at Jeremy McDole.jpg
Screenshot of police officers pointing guns at Jeremy McDole, a paraplegic, moments before his death
DateSeptember 23, 2015 (2015-09-23)
Time3:00 p.m.
LocationWilmington, Delaware, United States
Filmed byBystander
OutcomeFatal shooting
DeathsJeremy McDole
BurialCathedral Cemetery, Wilmington[1]
InquiriesDelaware Department of Justice
Wilmington Police Department

Jeremy "Bam Bam" McDole was a 28-year-old African American paraplegic who was shot and killed by police in Wilmington, Delaware on September 23, 2015, at 3:00 pm. McDole was in a wheelchair at the time of the shooting. Police and bystanders have offered differing accounts of the event. The exact cause of the shooting is unclear and the event is under investigation.[2][3]

Shooting[edit]

On September 23, 2015, at around 3:00 p.m., local police in Wilmington, Delaware responded to a 911 call about a man who had suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The female caller told the dispatcher that a man had shot himself, still had the weapon, and had fallen onto the ground but was moving back into his wheelchair.[4]

The officers who responded were Senior Cpl. Joseph Dellose, Cpl. Thomas Lynch, Cpl. James MacColl, and Senior Cpl. Danny Silva.[5] Police arrived and found Jeremy McDole sitting in a wheelchair. The incident escalated when police instructed McDole to raise his hands, followed by McDole being shot and killed by police.[6]

According to police, a .38-caliber pistol was found on McDole after the shooting. Relatives of McDole have stated that he was unarmed. Video footage taken on a cellphone showed McDole shuffling in his chair and moving his hands while officers ordered him several times to put them up.[2][3]

Investigation[edit]

The shooting was investigated by both Delaware's Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust and the Wilmington Police Department. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has stated that a special prosecutor is needed to ensure an impartial investigation.[2][3]

A report of the incident was compiled by the Attorney General of Delaware Matt Denn, in which it was announced that the office had decided against criminal charges against the four Wilmington police officers involved, although investigators concluded one officer, Senior Cpl. Joseph Dellose, showed "extraordinarily poor" police work.[7]

Legal action[edit]

The Delaware Department of Justice had begun to compile a case against Senior Cpl. Dellose for a felony assault charge, but experts determined that he had acted within Delaware law and that prosecution would likely be unsuccessful.[7] The report cleared the other three officers outright, noting they fired their weapons due to a subjective belief that greater harm would come to innocent parties if they did not.[8]

Shortly after the announcement that none of the four officers would be charged, the lawyer for the McDole family announced that the lack of charges would not stop the federal civil suit around the death.[8] In January 2017, a federal judge approved the city's $1.5 million settlement with McDole's family.[9]

Arrest of Phyllis McDole[edit]

Subsequent to the shooting, Phyllis McDole, the mother of Jeremy, allegedly assaulted a woman she believed made the 911 call that lead to the death of her son. Phyllis McDole was arrested on assault charges and subsequently released on bail.[10]

Response[edit]

After the release of the Attorney General report regarding the incident, the head of the Wilmington Police Officers' Union, Harold Bozeman, alleged that the report was only made for political gain. He stated, "The attorney general appears to be a man whose political ambition has trumped impartiality."[7]

Local activists questioned police tactics that allowed for a shooting to occur while no threat to an officer was ever made. The African-American community in Wilmington called for a peaceful response. Of the four officers involved, three are white and one is Hispanic.[2][3] The death of Jeremy McDole garnered the attention of Black Lives Matter activists on Twitter, and a local Black Lives Matter group joined McDole's family in leading subsequent marches and protests.[11]

Marches and protests[edit]

In October 2015, a march was organized by the family of Jeremy McDole and other local residents. Additional demonstrations took place during the months of December 2015[11] and January 2016.[12] Family of McDole stated they had not received official updates on the investigation, and called for the disruption of commercial activity and the resignation of city officials.[12] During the protests against the death of George Floyd in Wilmington, Delaware, McDole's mother spoke to the crowd who marched in memory of George Floyd and Jeremy McDole.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jeremy J. "Bam Bam" McDole". legacy.com. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Reyes, Jessica Masulli (September 27, 2015). "Activists speak out about shooting of man in wheelchair". Delaware Online.
  3. ^ a b c d Swaine, Jon; McCarthy, Ciara (September 26, 2015). "Delaware governor calls police shooting of man in wheelchair 'deeply troubling'". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Lehman, Tom (September 26, 2015). "Wilmington police release 911 call from fatal officer-involved shooting of man in wheelchair". WDEL 101.7FM. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  5. ^ "DOJ Releases Report on Wilmington Police Use of Force - State of Delaware News". news.delaware.gov. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  6. ^ McCarthy, Ciara (2015-09-24). "Delaware officials investigating fatal police shooting of man in wheelchair". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  7. ^ a b c Lehman, Tom (May 19, 2016). "Wilmington police union rips Denn over McDole report". WDEL 101.7FM. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  8. ^ a b McAneny, D. J. (May 12, 2016). "DOJ says no criminal charges in McDole shooting, McDole attorneys say 'We'll see you in civil court'". WDEL 101.7FM. Retrieved 2020-06-07.
  9. ^ Rapid city journal, May 4, 2017
  10. ^ Pizzi, Jenna; Reyes, Jessica Masulli (September 29, 2015). "Mother of man shot in wheelchair arrested". Delaware Online.
  11. ^ a b Cormier, Ryan. "McDole Family Calls for Resignation of Denn, Williams." DelawareOnline. Accessed January 11, 2015
  12. ^ a b Reyes, Jessica Masulli. "Protesters block Wilmington streets over police shooting." DelawareOnline. January 4, 2016. Accessed January 11, 2015.
  13. ^ McAneny, Amy Cherry, Sean Greene, DJ. "VIDEO | Why they showed up to Wilmington's peaceful protest". WDEL 101.7FM. Retrieved 2020-06-07.