Thursday, September 12, 2013

*UPDATED: Police decline to investigate shooting death of 107-year-old Pine Bluff man, special prosecutor named

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 11:50 AM

click to enlarge Monroe Isadore - LAURIE BARLOW, VIA KTHV
  • Laurie Barlow, via KTHV
  • Monroe Isadore

KTHV-11 reports that Arkansas State Police will not investigate the shooting death of Monroe Isadore, the 107-year-old man killed in a shootout with a SWAT team last weekend

Bill Sadler with ASP said Thursday that prosecuting attorney Kyle Hunter requested state police to look into the "totality of all circumstances" surrounding a shootout with S.W.A.T. that killed Monroe Isadore.

Sadler said state police returned Hunter's request on Wednesday, stating that the department declined the request to investigate.

An explanation or reasoning for the decline has not been provided [SEE UPDATE BELOW].

Hunter has now recused himself, and Jefferson County Judge Berlin Jones today appointed Bob McMahan to be the special prosecutor to handle the case. 

***UPDATE: Sadler called and said that in fact the ASP had sent a letter to Hunter explaining why ASP could not investigate. The letter cites two problems: the request came more than three days after the incident, and the request asked for an investigation of events outside of the shooting itself. Here is Hunter's request  and the  APB response .

With the lapse in time, Sadler said, the crime scene has been compromised, the local law enforcement agency (the Pine Bluff PD) has already processed the evidence, and the witnesses were (long since) no longer sequestered. "It's a credibility issue and a forensic issue," he said.

"APB routinely responds to those requests when they come in in a timely matter," he said. He said that requests typically come within 30 to 40 minutes after deadly force was used.  Sadler said that there was no law or protocol requiring local authorities to call in the state police in a situation in which an officer uses deadly force. "That is the choice of the local jurisdiction," he said. If called, they could have arrived within half an hour, he said. "We would have immediately responded." From the letter: 

Any attempt now to reassemble a crime scene, gather impartial statements from officers and witnesses who are already on record in the local investigation, and collect physical evidence that has been processed within a local chain of custody amounts to a style of investigation far outside accepted and sound law enforcement practices... .I do not believe this department can now assemble an investigation that is consistent with our standards of integrity and without causing further questions.

As to the second issue, Sadler said that these types of independent APB investigations are strictly limited to the use of deadly force itself, and that Hunter's request was too broad. From the letter:

Any ancillary investigation of a 9-1-1 call, the initial law enforcement response, the interaction of law enforcement personnel with witnesses prior to the shooting, and the procedural process by which SWAT officers made a decision to enter a residence would not be applicable under the purview of the “use of deadly force” statutes. 

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