US NEWS Off-duty officer who fatally shot man in street won't...

Off-duty officer who fatally shot man in street won’t be charged

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An off-duty police officer who fatally shot a man in North Carolina will not be charged with a crime, a special investigator announced Thursday.

Jeffrey Hash, a member of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, killed Jason Walker, a 37-year-old Black man, on Jan. 8 in Fayetteville.

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The investigation was kicked to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys after the local prosecutor had a conflict of interest.

FILE – Pandora Harrington, right, cries as she holds a sign with an image of Jason Walker during a demonstration in front of the Fayetteville Police Department, Jan. 9, 2022, in Fayetteville, NC (Andrew Craft/AP)

Investigators appeared to accept Hash’s version of events. Hash said he was driving down a road in Fayetteville with his wife and daughter when Walker ran into the middle of the street, about 30 feet away from the vehicle.

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Hash said he slowed down, but then Walker ran at his car and jumped on the hood. Investigators said Walker then ripped a windshield wiper from the truck and began bashing the windshield with it to the point that “shards of glass were coming into the truck and hitting Hash and his wife.”

While yelling at Walker to stop, Hash hopped out of the vehicle, grabbed his gun and shot Walker four times. Emergency personnel arrived and pronounced Walker dead at the scene.

Following the incident, Walker’s father told police his son was “out into the street. He was out here in the daggone street, and a fella drove up. He jumped up on the guy’s hood and the guy jumps out and shoots him.” The interview was seen on body-camera video.

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Another video showed the windshield wiper next to Walker’s body after he was shot dead. Investigators decided that Hash acted in self-defense.

“The evidence clearly supports the conclusion that Hash reasonably believed that he, his wife, and his child were in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death at the hands of Walker,” wrote Kimberly Overton Spahos, executive director of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys.

Walker’s death had sparked protests in and around Fayetteville. His family was represented by civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who has also represented George Floyd’s family and others affected by police violence.

“This case speaks to the need for reform of the North Carolina laws and their equivalents across the nation that allow unnecessary deadly force as a means of self-protection, which we often see loosely interpreted,” Crump said in a statement.

“Laws like the one protecting Jeffrey Hash disproportionately justify killings of people of color; the parameters need to be strengthened to prevent the protection of people who are quick to pull the trigger and end a life.”

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