Homeless man Milton Hall was gunned down by policeman with 46 bullets, after refusing to put down a knife in a Saginaw, Mich., parking lot. On Wednesday, prosecutors overseeing the shooting made a controversial decision to clear the six policemen of all charges, according to CNN.
On July 1st, after refusing to pay for coffee and other items at a convenience store, the clerk reportedly called police, saying Hall was also rude and combative. Soon after, Hall was surrounded by officers and a police dog as he wielded a knife. When officers ordered him to put down the knife, Hall argued with them, saying, “I’m not putting sh*t down!”
The 49-year-old then proceeded to introduce himself, “My name is Milton Hall. I called 911. My name is Milton and I am pissed off.” At one point, observers said Hall went in to a “karate stance.” Moments later, Hall would be mowed down by 46 rounds, with six of the eight officers firing their weapons even though they also reportedly had stun guns.
Watch the murder here:
When asked whether she believed that the police acted appropriately, Tabitha Perry, one of the witnesses at the scene, said she believed the police overreacted, “No, I don’t, because what they did, there was a better way to do it. I believe their judgement was off.”
And Hall’s mother, Jewel, agreed, “Emotionally, I have a lot of pain. And I’m stunned that six human beings would stand in front of one human being and fire 46 shots. i just don’t understand that.”
Still, Saginaw’s prosecutor contends that after 10 weeks, they have decided that criminal charges against the cops aren’t necessary.
Saginaw County Prosecutor Mike Thomas told reporters that investigators had reviewed police reports, several pieces of evidence — including audio recordings of phone calls made to police — and interviewed several witnesses at the scene.
Criminal charges aren’t warranted, said Thomas, noting that the officers had not acted with criminal intent on July 1 when they opened fire on Milton Hall.
Police have attempted to justify the killing further by saying that Hall had a long history with law enforcement, and while Hall’s Mother does confirm this, she also says that Hall was involved in a number of minor offenses and vagrancies.
Of the news that the police officers are cleared, Jewel, who is conducting a separate investigation with her lawyer, released this statement:
[I am] disappointed in the prosecutor’s report finding that the actions of the six Saginaw police officers who so brutally shot and killed my son, Milton Hall, were justified.If there is any benefit to come from Milton’s tragic death, we would hope that it would be to raise awareness of the challenges confronting the Saginaw Police Department and Saginaw elected officials, she said in the statement. The challenges are serious, systemic, wide-ranging and deeply rooted.
As Jewel attempts to find justice for her son, one has to wonder how many more times police will continue to be given a pass for abusing their authority.
Why is it OK for police to shoot someone repeatedly when it is clear that 1) they have numbers that are far greater than the perceived threat, 2) they had the choice to use a stun gun rather than a firearm, and 3) they were clearly familiar with Hall and had to have known that he had never posed a real threat in the past.
In July, NewsOne presented our “Police Brutality” series, hoping to find a solution to this all-too-common occurrence in our communities. You can sign our petition against police brutality here. Until we find a way to punish cops who abuse their authority, we will never find justice…or peace.