Dayton, OH – A Butler County grand jury has declined to indict five Monroe police officers who were involved in the fatal officer-involved shooting of 25-year-old Dustin Booth in February.
The incident began at about 2:10 p.m. on Feb. 11 when Booth’s wife called 911 and said her husband was experiencing a mental health crisis, the Dayton Daily News reported.
She told police that Booth had a gun and was a danger to himself and others.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Booth had recently been hospitalized for behavioral issues, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Police attempted to talk to him when he arrived at his residence on Blue Grass Lane, but Booth ignored orders to stop and went inside his home without talking to the officers, according to the prosecutor.
“The Monroe Police Department made the tactical decision not to escalate Mr. Booth’s condition and did not forcibly confront Mr. Booth where he was isolated in his home alone after failing to comply with police orders to stop a vehicle he was driving when the police were informed of his conduct,” Gmoser said.
“The home of Mr. Booth is in close proximity to neighbors and any confrontation there was seen as endangering the civilian population,” the county prosecutor continued.
He said two police negotiators had failed by phone to convince Booth to talk to police so authorities decided to leave him alone and wait it out until he exited peacefully on his own, the Dayton Daily News reported.
“Attempts to make contact with him through several different methods were attempted over the next several hours,” police said in a press release at the time. “Dustin was observed by officers to have a handgun in his possession while inside his residence and he appeared to be very agitated.”
Gmoser said that hours later in the day, a friend of Booth’s took it upon himself to intervene and gave the mentally-ill man a ride out of the neighborhood.
The friend told police via text that Booth had a pistol, the Dayton Daily News reported.
“At a location in Monroe near State Route 63, the police directed the driver to stop and Booth exited the vehicle with his .45 caliber, fully loaded, revolver in a holster over his shoulder and continued to walk away after the police directed him to stop,” Gmoser explained when he announced the grand jury’s decision.
He said Booth put his hands in the air but witnesses said he did not follow the orders to stop, the Dayton Daily News reported.
“The driver of the vehicle yelled several times to the officers, ‘Stop him he has a gun,’” the police press release read. “Because Dustin was not complying with the officers’ commands, continuing to walk away from them, and because they had been told that he was still armed, the department’s K-9 was deployed as a less-lethal attempt to stop him.”
But Gmoser said the police dog was “unsuccessful in stopping him” so a Monroe police officer physically confronted him with four more officers behind him.
“Both the confronting officer and Mr. Booth went down to the ground, and as Mr. Booth stood up with his pistol in hand, he pointed it in the direction of the five Monroe police officers, all of whom immediately fired their service weapons to stop the assault,” the county prosecutor explained.
“This action was captured on a police officer body camera and is definitive of the moment before shots were fired,” Gmoser said. “Mr. Booth was struck multiple times and he survived a short time before he died at a local hospital.”
“Using lethal force by the Monroe police to stop the lethal threat of force directed against them was justified and appropriate,” the prosecutor said.
Warren County Coroner Russell Uptegrove said Booth was shot 13 times, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Booth’s family has said through their lawyer that they are “baffled” by what happened that led to his death.
“The video raises so many questions,” attorney Konrad Kircher said. “Dustin was walking casually, not running. The gun was not exposed until the police escalated into violence.”
Kirchner said that Monroe police had responded to Booth’s home three times in 10 days and knew the man was mentally ill, the Dayton Daily News reported.
“Why did they force a confrontation with him on a public road?” Kirchner asked.
He said the family remained “totally baffled” by the actions of the K9 officer, the Dayton Daily News reported.
“After the dog attack, the officer ran toward Dustin, who had his hands up, and tried to wrestle him to the ground. Before the officer grabbed him, Dustin said, ‘Listen to me, I don’t want to hurt nobody.’ Why did the police escalate the confrontation when a crisis intervention person could have talked to Dustin?” Kircher asked.
But Gmoser when presented the findings of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s (BCA) investigation into the officer-involved shooting to a Butler County grand jury this week, the jurors did not return an indictment against any of the five Monroe police officers, the Dayton Daily News reported.
The county prosecutor announced the grand jury’s “no bill” decision on Wednesday morning.