COLUMBUS, Ga. — In the wake of hundreds of court documents and videos released this week in the 2014 death of a man shot by a Columbus State University police officer, News 3’s Crime Expert weighs in – when should an officer use deadly force?
WRBL showed the videos of Zikarious Flint’s shooting and death to our Crime Expert Ricky Holder. He has 32 years of law enforcement experience under his belt, including time with the Auburn Police Department.
As News 3 reported, Flint was shot by campus officer Sergeant Ben Scott who was responding to reports of an armed man on campus on Sunday, March 30, 2014.
When asked if it was appropriate a responding officer to draw his gun on Flint, Holder says campus security would be “well within his rights”.
“He’s going to need to make sure he can protect himself because an action is quicker than a reaction. In other words if he pulls that gun up that’s an action that’s quicker than the officer can react, draw his gun and defend himself,” says Holder.
News 3’s Ashley Garrett also asked Holder about Sergeant Scott and D.A. reports that at one point in the confrontation Scott hit Flint with his car while Flint was running away.
Holder says he’s not sure on that one.
“I guess if it’s covered under their policy he’s covered through the university, but that’s typically not what you’re trained to do,” says Holder.
Several campus witnesses say that day they saw Flint running, holding something that seemed very heavy in his front hoodie pocket. News 3’s crime expert says the video evidence is unclear.
“None of the videos that we saw physically showed a gun itself, but it showed he was holding something with his right hand ,” says Holder.
A Grand Jury dismissed the criminal case and recommended no charges in December 2015.
A Flint family spokesperson spoke with News 3 on the denial of charges against Sergeant Scott. Family advocate Antonio Carter says in part:
… It has brought all of us involved in this case great pain to realize that the American justice system does not work for all of America.”
Flint’s family continues to pursue a civil case that is currently pending in federal court.