According to prosecutors, the North Carolina police officers who shot and killed a man in May who was tossing Molotov cocktails and setting cars on fire near a police station will not be prosecuted.
The findings of a probe into the police officer’s use of force were made public by the office of Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman. Freeman’s assessment stated that “the deadly use of force was not unconstitutional and that there is, therefore, no legal basis for initiating a criminal prosecution,” according to news sources, citing an impending risk to police and the general public.
On May 7, at a parking lot close to a district police station in Raleigh, North Carolina, Reuel Rodriguez-Nuez, 37, was seen on camera throwing cups packed with combustible material at police officers and their cars. He was suffering a mental health crisis, according to his relatives.
Rodriguez-Nuez is seen standing next to multiple burning cars in body camera footage that was made public by the police in June. The officer races into the parking lot and appears to goad Rodriguez-Nuez. Three other cops are stationed further away.
Master Officer P.W. Coates screams, “Do it!” and uses profanity frequently. As another officer instructs Rodriguez-Nuez to place his hands on his head, the latter responds, “Do it! ” Give me the okay, Coates tells his colleagues as he moves toward Rodriguez-Nuez within the distance of a parking space. Rodriguez-Nuez then throws Coates a Molotov cocktail, at which point the four police start shooting.
Despite what could have been an unethical act by one of the officers, Freeman said there was no justification for pursuing a criminal case. “I would anticipate that the department will evaluate this as a potential policy violation and determine whether disciplinary action is necessary.”
The family of Rodriguez-Nunez demanded modifications to police procedures and claimed that officers did not treat the incident as a mental health emergency.
Jasiel Rodriguez-Nuez remarked, “Way did not have to end like this.” “My brother… was only communicating his mental ailment. It was his mental way of expressing himself. He was in breakdown mode.
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