Delaware Dept. of Justice: No charges against Wilmington police officers involved in shooting

The scene of the September 23

The scene of the September 23

The Delaware Department of Justice released a 31 page report about the September 2015 death of wheelchair-bound Jeremy McDole who was shot by police.

Four Wilmington Police Department officers were involved in the incident. The investigation conducted by the Delaware Department of Justice looked into whether or not any of the four officers should be charged with a criminal offense.

“With respect to three of the four officers – Senior Corporal Thomas Silva, Corporal Thomas Lynch, and Corporal James MacColl – DOJ did not find probable cause to charge them with a criminal offense,” according to the released document.

The police involved shooting of 28 year-old McDole in his wheelchair took place on September 23, 2015. It happened on the 1800 Block of Tulip Street.

Wilmington Police have said McDole was armed with a .38 caliber weapon. A caller to 9-1-1 that day said McDole shot himself.

The McDole family has disputed those claims. In a statement released by the family today, they addressed the case.

“Jeremy was paralyzed and he could not run or hide. He was sitting in broad daylight out in the open with plenty of nearby cover to protect the police. Jeremy was not combative or physically aggressive, nor did he say anything threatening or verbally taunt the police,” stated the family who shared that for those reasons they will continue to seek justice in the name Jeremy McDole.

As for the fourth officer, Senior Corporal Joseph Dellose, the Attorney General’s office started to pursue a felony assault charge, but determined his actions “did not constitute criminal conduct under Delaware Code.” However, the report revealed Dellose should not be a police officer.

“It is DOJ’s position that Dellose’s conduct in this case was extraordinarily poor police work that endangered both the public and his fellow officers. DOJ does not believe that Dellose should be employed by the Wilmington Police Department in any role where he would be carrying a firearm in public,” read a statement in the report.

According to the McDole family the DOJ report has no effect on the federal court case. The family also  shared their disappointment in the Attorney General’s office.

“While the Attorney General has never criminally prosecuted a Delaware police officer for a killing, we will continue to seek justice for Jeremy’s family in federal civil court and pursue the truth,” stated the McDole family.

Meanwhile the investigation also checked into possible deficiencies in the Wilmington Police Department’s policies and/or training to ensure that similar incidents do not occur in the future.

“The scope of the investigation into Mr. McDole’s death was much broader than the scope of prior investigations that have been undertaken by DOJ regarding police-involved shootings,” stated in the report.

According to officials, a number of concerns were raised in the case from the integrity of the scene of the shooting to whether evidence may have been placed at the scene by Wilmington Police Department officers.

“All of these factors resulted in an investigation that was more extensive than other investigations of police-involved shootings,” the DOJ report stated.

The full report and video, audio and photo evidence referenced in the report can be found at http://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/executive/Wilmington092315.shtml.

—–

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Senior Corporal Joseph Dellose would be charged with felony assault. While Attorney General’s office tried to pursue that charge against Dellose, their investigation determined that his actions “did not constitute criminal conduct under Delaware Code.”

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

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.