LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan sheriff's deputy will not face criminal charges after an altercation during a traffic stop led to the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old man in June, a county prosecutor said.
Allegan County Prosecutor Myrene Koch wrote in a report sent Friday to Michigan State Police that her review found that the officer who has not been identified “feared for his life” and the fatal shooting was “reasonable under the extreme circumstances.”
The deputy with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop in Salem Township, northwest of Wayland, on the night of June 16 after suspecting impaired driving, according to the prosecutor’s report. A fight broke out and the officer fired his weapon once, killing Joseph Nagle.
The encounter was not recorded because the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office does not have vehicles equipped with cameras and deputies are not equipped with body cameras. There was no evidence of Nagle having a weapon at the time.
The man's mother, Kelly Nagle, told The Associated Press that the family will be requesting a review of the investigation from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
According to the prosecutor’s report and a state police investigative report obtained by AP, the altercation started after the deputy tried to place Nagle under arrest. Nagle began punching the deputy on the side of the head and said, “I am going to kill you,” the report said.
It went on to say that after 15 to 20 hits to the head, the deputy’s vision became blurred and he began to fall to the ground. He then removed his gun and fired at Nagle once, according to the report.
“I just kept letting him hit me,” the deputy told a police sergeant on the night of the shooting, according to state police records.
In her decision not to charge the deputy, Koch wrote that a taser “would not have been effective," from that distance.
Nagle was pronounced dead at the scene. A toxicology report showed that both marijuana and cocaine were in Nagle’s system at the time.
A state police press release at the time said that the deputy was taken to the hospital to be evaluated.
Joey Cappelletti is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Joey Cappelletti, The Associated Press