DENVER — Prosecutors won't file criminal charges against a Denver police officer who shot a man who struck him with a stolen SUV during a traffic stop.
District Attorney Mitch Morrissey wrote in a letter released Friday that Officer Jeffrey DiManna was justified in shooting 23-year-old Sharod Kindell on Jan. 9 because Kindell could have seriously injured officers with the vehicle. Investigators say Kindell ignored officers' orders to get out of the vehicle during the traffic stop and instead drove off in reverse, trapping DiManna inside the open driver's side door.
DiManna fired five shots, wounding Kindell. The shooting was one of four times in seven months that Denver police have fired at a moving vehicle after perceiving it as a threat, an issue under investigation by the city's independent monitor. It also sparked protests in Denver and came amid a national debate about police use of force after racially charged episodes in Missouri and New York.
Police say they stopped Kindell because they saw him run a stop sign and then pull into the driveway of a home that was not his, according to an account of the shooting contained in Morrissey's letter. DiManna went to the driver's side door while two other officers went to the sides. DiManna told Kindell to give him his driver's license, and when he refused, told him to get out of the vehicle. DiManna pulled the door open, but Kindell kept shutting it, according to the letter.
DiManna was standing in the open driver's side door when Kindell started the engine and sped in reverse toward a police car, trapping DiManna, who told investigators he was afraid he would be run over or pinned between the vehicles. DiManna fired as the SUV hit the police car, sending DiManna onto its hood, according to the letter.
DiManna fired another shot through the front window after the SUV had stopped, believing Kindell might shift gears and drive toward him, he told investigators. Kindell got out of the SUV and ran but officers chased and eventually caught him.
The letter says DiManna fired five times. Kindell has been charged with several crimes in connection to the shooting, including assault.
Morrissey said any reasonable officer would have used force to stop Kindell.
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