The Deputy Sheriff of the Calhoun County police department who killed an 11-year-old boy in May with his patrol car will not face any criminal charges after his case was reviewed by a special prosecutor assigned to the case.
The incident, which caused the death of Norman Hood Jr, sparked an uproar in the U.S. State of Michigan. On May 28, Norman was fatally killed by a patrol vehicle while he was crossing Michigan Avenue at Lenon Street in Battle Creek on a motorized minibike.
After reviewing the incident, the cop, whose name has been withheld, was found to be responding to a reported burglary in Springfield and was speeding at 66 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone.
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According to WWMT reports, the cop failed to use his sirens or overhead lights when he barreled through the intersection.
— WWMT-TV (@wwmtnews) September 16, 2019
Describing the decision from the prosecutor in a written statement, Calhoun County Prosecutor, David Gilbert wrote, “He found the officer was on duty and responding to an emergency call, and while he was violating the speed limit, an officer has a statutory right to exceed the limit under those circumstances.”
The prosecuting officer, Jerard Jarzynka, who ultimately made the final decision to decline charges, explained that despite Norman’s death being extremely tragic, “Michigan law provides exceptions to whether the officer must use their emergency lights or siren.”
He further explained how 11-year-old Norman, who was wearing dark clothing, abruptly turned in front of the cop’s car.
“Norman is seen riding the pocket bike wearing dark-colored clothing before abruptly making a sharp turn in front of the deputy,” Jarzynka said. “His actions of doing that certainly resulted in this collision. Suddenly he’s just coming out of nowhere.”
In a written statement, the mother of the 11-year-old, Christina Valdez, denies the claims from Jayzynka, saying that she feels justice hasn’t been served.
“I feel that my son was killed and justice was not served. The average citizen would have to pay for taking a life. The officer gets to go back to work and continue with his life. We will always be without Norman.”
The family has, meanwhile, filed a $25 million civil lawsuit against Calhoun County and the unnamed deputy. The case is currently pending in civil court.
Norman was laid to rest on June 9, where he was remembered for his “infectious smile” and his love for fishing, climbing trees, among others.