AG backs Delaware officers who killed Black man

Surveillance footage from  Sunday January 5, 2020 in Milford, Del. (Delaware DOJ)

Surveillance footage from Sunday January 5, 2020 in Milford, Del. (Delaware DOJ)

Two Delaware police officers were justified in using deadly force earlier this year against a Black man armed with a knife, the state attorney general’s office has concluded.

The Delaware Department of Justice issued a report Wednesday clearing Milford police officers Nigel Golding and Brandon Karpin of criminal wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Brandon Roberts, 27.

Investigators said the report was based on interviews with civilian and police witnesses, photographs, 911 recordings, dispatch records, video footage from surveillance and police body-worn cameras, police reports, medical records, and ballistics analysis.

Officers were called to an apartment on Jan. 5 in response to a domestic-related assault. Police were told that a pregnant woman was being held against her will in the apartment, and that the subject might be a mental patient. They were also told that weapons might be involved.

Investigators said that officers knocked on the door and that Roberts came out with a large butcher knife in his hand and advanced on Golding. Both officers opened fire, hitting Roberts eight times.

According to the report, immediately before being shot, Roberts shouted “Shoot me.”

The entire encounter lasted less than 10 seconds, with only three seconds between the time Roberts initially opened the door and the shots being fired.

According to the report, Roberts’ girlfriend, Erica Jones, told police that he was “out of control,” had been drinking and taking Xanax, and had hit her and their infant son.

Jones has since blamed police for Roberts’ death, saying her boyfriend never lunged at the officers or raised his weapon.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal