Champaign, IL - No charges will be filed against a police officer who shot and killed a teenage boy. That's the finding that came Tuesday in the death of 15-year-old Kiwane Carrington.
It's been almost two months exactly since Carrington was shot and killed. Chief RT Finney and officer Daniel Norbits say Carrington and the other boy there didn't obey commands to get down and started pushing past the officers. Both men say the boys kept putting their hands in their pockets, so they didn't know that the teens weren't armed. It all started with a neighbor calling police about two people he thought might have been trying to break-in, then, another person called 911 to say they thought three people were breaking in.
"As they're approaching this situation, the call is three suspects, when they come around the corner they see two and the open door and officer Norbits in his statements talks about having his attention going between what's happening with the chief, what he's dealing with Kiwane, and the open door wondering if there's someone else who's going to be coming out that door," said Julia Rietz, the Champaign County State's Attorney.
The State's Attorney ruled that officer Norbits' gun went off in his right hand accidentally when he was struggling to hold Carrington with his left hand. She says there's no evidence to indicate Norbits intended to fire the weapon.
Carrington's family isn't ready to talk about this ruling, but a family friend is speaking out.
"The shooting death of Kiwane Carrington has challenged each city official, each community leader, administrator, teacher, student, and each individual in the community to look honestly in the mirror and ask the critical question, 'can we as a community now start to be more loving, caring, responsible and more dedicated to helping each other?'" said Seon Williams.
Activists from Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice say the State's Attorney's findings can't be trusted because she often works closely with police. They want the Department of Justice to investigate Carrington's death.
Meanwhile, Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney speaks out for the first time since the Carrington shooting. Chief Finney says he has regrets an accident that took Carrington's life ever happened and he took the time to tell Carrington's family he's sorry. Finney says changes might be made at the Champaign Police Department. They will conduct an internal investigation to find out whether there was any violation in policy. Police will look at personnel issues, and whether changes in officers training should be made. Daniel Norbits, the officer who shot Carrington, will remain on paid administrative leave until the internal investigation is finished.
City leaders now say it's time to move forward in a positive direction. They called the Carrington shooting a defining moment in Champaign history. They're hoping for a more open dialogue. They're encouraging community members to come out to Tuesday night's council meeting to express concerns.
The Champaign School District was prepared to go on soft lockdown with the release of the report for concern of retaliation, but school administrators say there were no problems.