No charges for 4 Baltimore officers who fatally shot an armed man after he fired at them

Four Baltimore police officers who fired three dozen shots at an armed man during a foot pursuit in November won’t face criminal charges, state prosecutors said Friday.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown said in a news release that the officers returned fire after Hunter Jessup, 27, fired seven shots in their direction while fleeing. Jessup was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The decision not to charge the officers comes after an investigation by the attorney general’s office, which is authorized under state law to investigate police shootings and in-custody deaths. A law change that went into effect last year also gave the agency the authority to make charging decisions; previously those decisions had fallen to local prosecutors.

Jessup’s death occurred on Nov. 7 after officers on a District Action Team — a squad focused on seizing illegal guns — approached him while patrolling in southwest Baltimore.

In the aftermath of the shooting, some community members questioned whether his death was necessary. They said officers on the department’s specialized gun squads have a reputation for displaying overly aggressive behavior and escalating otherwise peaceful encounters, especially in that neighborhood.

But Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley has commended the officers’ actions, saying they protected public safety in an area plagued by violence. He also said they yelled at Jessup multiple times to drop his weapon before firing.

The attorney general’s office found that the officers acted in self-defense or defense of others and did not use excessive force.

“Because the officers had no reasonable alternative to using deadly force at the moment they fired, a prosecutor could not prove that the shootings constituted excessive force,” the office’s report released Friday said.


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