Tennessee investigators find cop shot unarmed teen ‘in the back’ — but grand jury refuses to indict
A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) file released this week indicates that Memphis police officer Connor Schilling shot and killed 19-year-old Darrius Stewart from behind as he was trying to run away.
Earlier this year, Stewart was riding as a passenger in a vehicle when Schilling pulled the car over for having a broken headlight. The driver was ticketed and allowed to leave, but Schilling detained Stewart in his police cruiser to verify outstanding warrants.
The 6-year-old warrants, later released by the Johnson County Attorney’s Office in Iowa, accused Stewart of sexually abusing a 4 year old. His family has denied the charges.
At some point, Stewart and Schilling began fighting and were observed by several witnesses. The accounts indicate that Schilling first shot Stewart when he tried to run away, and then fired a second shot while the teen was fleeing.
“Darius [sic] was trying to get up, and the officer was trying to hold him down,” one witness recalled, according to the TBI investigation. “As I turned to get my phone, I heard a gunshot. I did not see what caused the officer to shoot.”
“When I turned back around, they were both still on the ground, and I saw the officer getting up. I then saw Darius [sic] start getting up. He turned to run, and I saw the officer shot him in the back [sic].”
The shooting was also witnessed by a second person whose driveway had been blocked during the incident.
“I heard the boy that was stopped by the cop hollering ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t f*cking breathe,'” the witness told investigators. “The officer was standing beside the boy, and it looked like the boy was trying to get up off the ground with his legs without using his arms. The boy kept hollering [out] loud. ”
“When the boy got up, I saw the officer extend his arm, and then I heard ‘pow’,” the witness added.
After reading the TBI investigation, District Attorney General Amy Weirich recommended that a grand jury indict Schilling for voluntary manslaughter and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. However, the grand jury declined to indict the officer.
The TBI investigation was released this week after a Weirich filed a petition to have the document made public. The entire 800-page file can be viewed here.
Watch the video below from WMC, broadcast Dec. 15, 2015.