Wilmington clergy call on US Dept. of Justice to investigate police shooting

(John Jankowski/for Newsworks)

(John Jankowski/for Newsworks)

Community leaders are challenging the decision not to charge four Wilmington police officers in the death of Jeremy McDole.

“When you have officers sworn to protect and serve ALL CITIZENS, who espouse racial epitaphs, it is a cancerous ethos and culture that must be addressed and eradicated,”said Dr. Donald Morton of Complexities of Color Coalition.

On Wednesday, Morton along with area pastors Vincent Oliver, Shanika Perry, Rachel Livingston and Aretha Morton called for the Federal Department of Justice to investigate the September 2015 police involved shooting of wheelchair bound McDole.  Wilmington City Councilman Jae Street is also working with the religious community for a further investigation.

The goal is to get the following three questions answered:

1. Does the existing state law regarding the use of deadly force, violate or conflict with Federal Civil Rights Laws?2. Does the existing state law and its identification with subjective belief provide an environment for the increased usage of deadly force?3. Does it have a disparate racial impact?

Last year’s shooting of 28 year-old McDole sparked an eight month investigation by the Delaware Department of Justice and concluded with a 31 page report about the incident.

The four officers named in the report were: Senior Cpl. Thomas Silva, Cpl. Thomas Lynch, Cpl. James MacColl and Senior Cpl. Joseph Dellose. Community officials are also calling for the immediate termination of Dellose who the report recognizes as an officer “that should not be employed by the Wilmington Police Department in any job that involves the handling of a firearm in public.”

On September 23, 2015 Wilmington police reported that McDole was armed with a .38 caliber weapon on the 1800 Block of Tulip Street. A caller to 9-1-1 that day said McDole shot himself.

The victim’s family has disputed those claims and filed a civil lawsuit against the police department.

According to Dr. Morton the Delaware justice system, “lacks the moral, political and institutional courage necessary to be the trailblazer in doing that which is right and just.”

“The way in which black and brown bodies have been devalued and treated as less than human perpetuates a communal trauma that must be addressed and repented of,” Dr. Morton added.

On Friday, the McDole family will march against police brutality and the Wilmington Police Department.  It will be the family’s third organized march to raise awareness about the shooting.

“What does it say when the Justice that is supposedly blind, is only blind to the needs and rights of the vulnerable and marginalized of our society,” Dr. Morton said.

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