LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Two LMPD officers have been cleared in the shooting of a man with a saw last year.
Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine says after a seven month review of the August 2016 shooting of Darnell Wicker he's found the actions of officers Taylor Banks and Beau Gadegaard to be justified.
Wine says the officers perceived a "real and substantial threat to their lives" from Wicker's actions.
In audio recordings released by Wine's office, Officer Gadegaard says he saw "pure evil" in Wicker's eyes and felt Wicker wanted to kill him.
Toxicology reports show that Wicker had taken cocaine sometime before he was shot and was likely coming down from a high.
Wine says he doesn't like that Wicker was shot 14 times but also had a problem with the officers being put in a life-threatening situation.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer issued the following statement on Wine's decision:
The August 8th death of Darnell Wicker was a tragedy and a tremendous source of pain for his loved ones and our community. For my administration, it has been paramount that we bring transparency and accountability to every step of this process.
That is why we released the body camera footage about 15 hours after the shooting. It is why Chief Conrad and his staff immediately briefed Mr. Wicker’s family and the community on the process that would take place. It is that desire and demand for transparency that led Commonwealth Attorney Wine to conduct a thorough investigation – and then laid out his findings in detail before the public. I deeply appreciate the exhaustive review he conducted, while I understand that the conclusion he came to may disappoint some people.
As we move into the next phase of this process, LMPD will now conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the officers involved followed all department policies and procedures.
I have asked Chief Conrad to take a close look at the steps that the officers took and did not take in this shooting. He must also rigorously evaluate our police training, policies and procedures, including those related to de-escalation and individuals with mental illness or drug abuse problems.
Our police officers have an incredibly difficult, dangerous and critical job to do for our community. LMPD has been transparent throughout this process and will continue to be transparent with the public about the investigation and its findings – they understand that transparency, honesty and accountability are essential to maintaining the public’s trust.
Our country has a painful history of discrimination between some police officers and some communities of color. Locally, I am committed to doing everything possible we can to address and heal the wounds of the past by listening and responding to our community’s thoughts and concerns, treating all citizens fairly and respecting the rights guaranteed them by our Constitution.
To see Wine's full presentation of his findings, click here.