WILMINGTON, DELAWARE (5/13/2016) Four Wilmington policemen will not be charged in the shooting death of Jeremy McDole last fall, the Delaware Department of Justice announced Thursday, but investigators criticized the conduct of one of the officers and cited deficiencies in police training and policies.
McDole, 28, of Wilmington, was killed Sept. 23 after police responded to a 911 call reporting a man in a wheelchair had shot himself in the parking lot of an AutoZone store on Scott Street and still had a weapon.
The Department of Justice report on the incident said Senior Cpl. Thomas Silva, Cpl. Thomas Lynch Cpl. James MacColl believed at the moment they discharged their firearms that doing so was necessary to protect themselves or others against death or serious physical injury and thus entitled under Delaware law to use deadly force to subdue McDole.
The conduct of the fourth officer, Senior Cpl. Joseph Dellose, “was extraordinarily poor police work that endangered both the public and his fellow officers,” the Justice Department report said, recommending he not by employed in any role where he would be carrying a firearm in public. Prosecutors considered charges against Dellose but found his actions did not constitute criminal conduct under Delaware law.
“Our investigation revealed serious deficiencies in the way in which the Wilmington Police Department prepares its police officers to deal with situations like the one that Mr. McDole presented, specifically with regard to use of force policies and training and policies for dealing with individuals with mental illness, disabilities, or cognitive impairments. Most significantly, we find that the ‘continuum of force’” provisions of the Wilmington Police Department’s use of force policy are effectively meaningless for police officers as currently written,” the report said.
Alexandra Coppadge, spokeswoman for the city of Wilmington, released the following in response to the findings: ““The Delaware Department of Justice (DOJ) has declined prosecution of the officers who used force in the McDole incident. The City agrees with that conclusion. Mr. McDole was under the influence of drugs and had been indiscriminately firing a handgun in a busy commercial and residential area. Prompt police intervention was necessary to ensure public safety. As the video shows, Mr. McDole did not comply with repeated, lawful commands to raise his hands and made an abrupt and threatening move toward Officer Dellose. Mr. McDole then appeared to be drawing his handgun when the remaining officers fired. The City disagrees, however, with DOJ’s criticisms of the City’s officers, policies and training. The City’s positions in this regard will be detailed in its defense of the claims asserted in the pending civil case.”