Circumstances of Incident
On March 07, 2003 Hartford police officers were dispatched to 71 Greenfield Street on a reported burglary/robbery. While en route, the officers were advised that the incident involved an assault with a knife. Upon arrival, Officers Dugan, Rodriguez, and Perez located Theodore Easterling, who told the officers that his nephew, Robert Davis, was high on drugs and had stabbed him in the back with a knife. He also stated that his nephew had broken into his third floor apartment and chased his children around the apartment with a knife in an attempt to injure them.
The officers approached 71 Greenfield Street and observed a black male suspect (later identified as Robert Davis) armed with a large kitchen knife exit the rear of the building and flee south through the rear yards towards Magnolia Street. As the suspect entered Magnolia Street he was confronted by Officer Tyrone Boland who ordered Davis to drop the knife. However, Davis advanced on Officer Boland with the knife raised causing Boland to discharge his firearm at Davis. This shot only temporarily stopped Davis who again lunged at Officer Boland, who fired two more shots. Davis went to his knees and dropped the knife. Officer Sylvia Hernandez then approached Davis and sprayed him with OC spray. Rather than having the desired effect, the spray caused the suspect to pick up the knife and run south on Magnolia Street, where he was confronted by Officers Daniel Mui and Gamaliel Perez. These officers also ordered Davis to drop the knife a number of times. Davis ran at the officers at which point Mui and Perez each discharged numerous rounds at Davis. He fell to the ground still holding the knife which had to be forcibly removed from his grip. Davis died of his gunshot wounds. The autopsy also confirmed what had been reported by his family; that Davis was high on PCP at the time of the incident.
Use of Deadly Force
Witnesses confirmed Mr. Davis’ violent behavior prior to his confrontation with the police officers involved in this incident. The officers’ reports are consistent with respect to the actions taken and the level of force used.
Under the circumstances detailed herein, the use of deadly force by Officers Boland, Mui and Perez was justified under CGS §53a-22 and there appear no grounds for criminal prosecution. This report is meant only to address that issue.
Further Action by Division of Criminal Justice
Two Inspectors from this office responded to the scene of the shooting and were directly involved in a re-enactment of the shooting. Based upon their observations and the report of the investigation furnished by the Hartford Police Department, which appears to have been done in a thorough and professional manner, there are no grounds for further action by the Division.
James E. Thomas