Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cops who used robot to kill Dallas ambush gunman won't face charges

Feb. 1, 2018 at 12:21 a.m.

Dallas police officers check a car after a sniper opened fire during a downtown rally July 8, 2016.  A grand jury has declined to bring charges against the officers who used a bomb-carrying robot to kill the sniper.

DALLAS — A grand jury has declined to bring charges against Dallas police officers who used a bomb-carrying robot to kill a sniper who had just gunned down five officers during a downtown rally, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

The Dallas County District Attorney's office said in a statement that investigators presented their findings to a grand jury more than a year after the July 7, 2016, attack by Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old Army reservist who investigators said was upset by recent shootings of black men by police.

The use of the robot to detonate a pound of C4 explosives near Johnson, killing him, was a first for a U.S. police department.

David Brown, who was the police chief at the time and has since retired, said shortly after Johnson was killed that he made the decision to use the robot because negotiations had failed and he wanted to end the continued threat to officers. Police said they believed Johnson was also wounded by gunfire, but few details about the police response that night have been shared with the public.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said staff could not discuss what evidence was presented to the grand jury.

Veterans Health Administration documents showed that Johnson sought mental health treatment for anxiety, depression and hallucinations after he returned from Afghani-stan.

His parents, who are divorced, have given few interviews since the shooting. Federal court records don't show any pending lawsuits from family members challenging the police response or the use of the robot.

District Attorney Faith Johnson, who has no relation to the gunman, noted that all police shootings are required to be examined by a grand jury.

"Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of those who lost their lives that night, the officers who were injured, and all of the men and women who courageously put themselves into harm's way, all in an effort to protect our community," Johnson wrote.

The decision appears to conclude the investigation, and a police spokeswoman issued a statement saying the department is pleased with the outcome and hopes to move forward with healing.



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