In a report released Friday morning, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring said he will not pursue criminal charges against the officer who shot and killed Marcus-David Peters on I-95 on May 14.
Herring described the event as “an act of justifiable homicide,” and said the use of force was “reasonable and necessary” given the unusual circumstances of the event.
Richmond Police Department also announced today in a press release that the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office completed their portion of the investigation of the Peters shooting, who was shot after allegedly showing signs of mental instability. The investigation now must be completed by RPD Internal Affairs using the report submitted by the Department-generated Force Investigation Team (FIT).
“The review of this incident by Commonwealth Attorney Michael Herring and his staff is a critical phase in the criminal investigation of this incident,” said RPD Chief Durham in a press release. “I appreciate the thorough efforts of Mr. Herring and his staff and we respect the decision they have made. This incident will forever remain a tragedy for all those involved.”
Peters, 24, was naked and unarmed during the incident, but charged the officer, who deployed his taser gun. After the taser proved ineffective and Peters threatened to kill him, Richmond Officer Michael Nyantakyi pulled his weapon. Peters died early the next morning.
“Mr. Peters’ altered mental state, his nudity and the fact that he was unarmed are all mitigating factors,” reads the Commonwealth Attorney’s report, co-written by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney LaToya H. Croxton. “However, there should be little question that the officer reasonably feared that Mr. Peters’ aggression and apparent insensitivity to pain foreclosed lesser interventions and therefore constituted an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”
This decision comes after months of activism from citizens and community leaders, spearheaded by Peters’ sister, Princess Blanding, who had no faith Herring would “make the right decision, which is to charge the officer.” She and other activists argue that Peters needed “help, not death.” Peters was a high school biology teacher who hoped to dedicate his life to youth in need.
His autopsy report found Ritalin present in Peters’ system, a drug commonly used for ADHD and narcolepsy. Peters did not have a prescription for the drug.
Officer Nyantaki has been on administrative leave since the shooting, but will now be placed on administrative assignment in non-public contact position until the investigation is complete.