Travis County DA's office decides not to pursue charges against officers involved in shooting cases

It's all part of a new policy by District Attorney Margaret Moore who took office in January.

AUSTIN - The Travis County District Attorney's office has decided not to pursue charges against officers in three police shooting cases. It's part of a new policy by District Attorney Margaret Moore, who took office in January.

This is a major break from how prosecutors traditionally have handled police shooting cases, reports KVUE's and the Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski.

In the past, they've taken every lethal force case to a grand jury -- even if a suspect wasn't hit. Now, the DA wants to reserve grand juries only for cases where she says there is evidence an officer may have committed a crime.

In these three shootings, she says that's simply not the case.

They include an April 2016 shooting during a drug raid in North Austin. Police say a man who lived in the home shot and injured a SWAT officer. Officer Leighton Radtke returned fire. No one was killed.

They also include a June 2016 shooting  that wounded a man at a South Austin elementary school in the wee hours of the morning. Police say that man had a machete and raised it at officers when Officer James Harvel fired.

And they include the September 2016 shooting of a man at a North Austin apartment complex. Police say he was armed with a rifle and refused to drop it. That's when Officers Salvatore Reale and Andrew McRae shot and killed him.

Moore announced her plans in April to shift how a newly created civil rights division would handle police shooting cases. Her plan was supported by police and civil groups, who say they want prosecutors focused on cases in which officers have wrongfully shot.

Members of a civil rights division in the DA's office are still evaluating how they will handle nine other police shootings, seven of which are from this year.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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