Prosecutor: Officer-involved shooting was mistake; no charges filed

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Kent County Prosecutor announced he will not be filing charges in an officer-involved shooting during a drug raid in September.

Prosecutor Chris Becker says while he does not justify this shooting, he cannot charge Kent County Deputy Andrew Hinds who shot the suspect because he cannot disprove Hinds acted in self-defense, beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Clearly this was a mistake," said Becker. "This was a mistake by the officer, he felt he was in fear [...] where they’re dealing with the two very dangerous individuals, who are coming in after moving a large amount of narcotics, and making the motions that he did."

The shooting happened in the early morning hours of Sept. 3.  The Kent County Sheriff's Tactical Apprehension and Confrontation Team was working with the Drug Enforcement Agency to serve a warrant at an apartment at 3841 Whispering Way Dr. SE.

Blurry surveillance video without sound shows two suspects, Yusef Philips and Ray Lee, walking out of the apartment when the TACT team rushes forward yelling, identifying themselves as police. Then Philips turns toward the deputies, crouches and makes a quick move to his waistband when Hinds shoots Philips in the chest.  Philips survived and Becker says he did not have a weapon on him, only car keys and a phone.

"That was an error, but the law allows for that error to be made," Becker said.

"And therefore, we cannot overcome the burden proving he fired in other than something in self-defense. So that is why I will not be filing charges in this matter."

The raid came after at least one month of police monitoring a large drug ring that extended to California. At least eighteen people have been charged with federal crimes, facing 20 years to life in prison, after the TACT team found 30 kilograms of heroin, cocaine, several pounds of marijuana, guns, body armor and almost $1 million in cash inside that apartment after the shooting Sept. 3. Police determined a semi-truck hauled the narcotics from California to Michigan.

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  • Another lopsided determination

    Would I be afforded the same consequence if I shot a person I believed was hiding behind a car to reach for his weapon? I’m not a cop so my guess is no I wouldn’t, I would be arrested and charged with attempted murder and any other charge they can think of.

    • Michael

      Same tired argument as always.

      Of course you wouldn’t be treated the same. You aren’t the same. You aren’t law enforcement. There’s 50 years of case law stating what a police officer is allowed to do and under what circumstances. Those rulings don’t apply to the average citizen.

  • Ben There

    Can’t tell from the video but if a large volume drug dealer makes a furtive movement when told not do anything of the sort, it would be a justified shooting. You cannot react faster than the initial reaction. You can’t wait to see, ok, he’s going for something I think, but let me wait and see if he’s pulling a gun. Yep looks like a gun…Well I wonder if he’s going to toss it down or shoot me with it…Nope. When you have weapons and drugs on your resume’, don’t reach to pull your pants up. Because if the officer feels you are reaching for a weapon, in his/her mind you are a deadly threat. Any shooting is justifiable if those are the facts. If the person made an error and decided to make a sudden move for their cell phone, that’s their error. The cop did not make an error. The cop’s perception is the cop’s perception. Where Prosecutor Becker made an error is in not telling his drunk buddy to not drive, back in November of 2016. When his prosecutor, under Forsyth at the time, drove, that was an error made by Forsyth and Becker as well if he was at the same party embibing.