FBI asked to review fatal shooting that involved police

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on Dec. 10, 2009.

The death of Kiwane Carrington was ruled an accident, according to State’s Attorney Julia Rietz.

According to a report released by Rietz’s office Tuesday, Police Officer Daniel Norbits, whose gun was responsible for the shooting, will not be charged with Carrington’s death.

The report, which was sent to Rietz’s office Nov. 12, is being released almost two months after the incident occurred. The 15–year–old Champaign resident was shot and killed during an altercation with Norbits and Police Chief R.T. Finney on Oct. 9. Three other officers werThe now 16–year–old Jeshaun Manning-Carter was also involved in the incident, and has been charged with aggravated resisting arrest of a police officer. His arraignment trial was postponed until Jan. 19.

Reitz released her own report on the investigation.

“The outcome of an event, regardless of how tragic that outcome might be, does not determine whether or not the event itself was a criminal act. Rather, it is the individual’s actions and mental state, as proven by admissible, credible evidence, which provide the basis for criminal charges. Although Carrington’s death is tragic, the evidence provided by the Illinois State Police investigation does not support the filing of criminal charges, and rather supports the conclusion that the shooting was accidental,” Reitz wrote.

Police were called to 706 W. Vine Street after a neighbor reported a potential break in.

However, Deb Williams, the owner of the home, said Carrington was living with her at the time and had her permission to be in the house at any time, even though the boy was supposed to be in school when the struggle occurred.

The neighbor, Everett Riley, said he saw the police arrive, heard the officers yell at the suspects to get on the ground and then heard a shot go off, according to the report.

Norbits arrived at the scene after Finney. He said Finney drew his gun and said “stop or I will shoot you,” according to the report. After Norbits made his way to the back of the house with his gun drawn, there was an altercation between him, Finney and the two boys.

According to the state’s attorney report, Norbits was confronted by Carrington during the incident. Both Norbits and Finney engaged in a physical fight with Carrington and Manning-Carter. Carrington did not punch the officers but was resisting their orders, according to the report. Norbits and Finney said they saw Carrington put his hands in and out of his pockets, and it was unclear whether he was armed. Norbits said the gun went off during the struggle, according to the report.

“When the gun went off…in fact I didn’t even know who it was,” Finney said in the report. “I had no idea whether it was him or the bad guy, but when the gun went off I looked up. He (Norbits) was still dealing with him, still with the kid. He had his hands on him trying to hold him down.”

Finney said he did not see the shot fired because he was dealing with Manning-Carter; however, he said that Norbits “immediately began giving first aid” to Carrington after the shot went off.

The report concludes that there is not evidence that Norbits intentionally or knowingly fired his weapon at Carrington.

“The evidence supports the conclusion that he fired his weapon unintentionally, in the course of trying to subdue Carrington, who was not complying with his lawful instructions,” the report said.

The cause of death was a gunshot wound to arm that reentered through the chest, said Dr. Scott Denton, MD, Forensic Pathologist, who performed Carrington’s autopsy.

On Monday, CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, or CUCPJ, held a press conference to discuss the investigation.

Rhonda Williams, Carrington’s aunt, said she was concerned that Norbits has been working for the police following the incident and throughout the investigation.

“I think we need a higher investigation to get a fair shake,” Williams said in a previous report. “I really believe that we need an independent investigation beside the Champaign County investigation.”

On Dec. 10, after the CUCPJ press conference, Finney is requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation review the incident and reports of the shooting, according to a press release. The press release stated the FBI’s investigation will focus on federal civil rights violations.

“This request allows an independent outside review of this very tragic incident,” Finney stated in a press release. “We also understand the value of a third party review in helping us learn from this incident and move forward.”

During the investigation, Norbits did inventory work at the station, wearing civilian clothes and had no contact with the public, said Champaign City Manager Steve Carter.

After the conference, CUCPJ released a statement that said that Rietz cannot objectively investigate the involvement of Finney and Norbits in the case.

At a Champaign City Council meeting Tuesday night, local residents expressed their thoughts about the shooting and the report.

“I am here with pain and disgust,” said Carol Ammons, CUCPJ member and Urbana resident. “I have a 15-year-old son. I sent my son away, 600 miles, because I refuse to have him go to school and interact with the police.”

Kerry Pimblott, graduate student, said the report read “like a justification.”

“The absence of charge is shocking, even involuntary manslaughter,” she added.

Champaign Mayor Gerald Schweighart said the city will now “follow the six steps outlined by (Champaign City Manager) Steve Carter,” which is a series of actions for increasing cooperation between the police and the community. This includes following through on changes made to the police department’s “Use of Force” policy and reviewing the current police complaint process.