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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Katie Hawkinson

Officer who shot unarmed 11-year-old boy cleared by grand jury


A grand jury has declined to indict the Mississippi police officer who shot an unarmed 11-year-old boy earlier this year.

In May, Nakala Murry handed her phone to her son, Aderrien Murry, and instructed him to call the police about an “irate” former partner who had shown up on their Indianola, Mississippi property. Police arrived two hours later after Ms Murry’s former partner had left. They instructed everyone in the home to come out with their hands up.

Aderrien, who was only 4ft10, complied — and then, Sergeant Greg Capers shot him in the chest.

Now, a Mississippi grand jury has found the officer did not engage in criminal activity, local outlet WJTV reports. Carlos Moore, attorney for the Murrys, said their position is not that Sgt Capers intentionally shot Aderrien — rather, Mr Moore said he believes he intended to shoot Nakala’s ex-partner, but instead ”shot too early without looking.”

“The boy does not have the statute of the assailant, who would’ve been about 5ft10, so I don’t know how he got confused,” Mr Moore told The Independent. “But it is evident to me that he shot first and second, so that's reckless.”

Michael Carr, a lawyer for Sgt Capers, told The Independent that his client was relieved when the grand jury declined to indict and cleared him of any criminal charges. He could still be found liable, however, in a pending civil case filed by the Murry family.

“In every instance, when a child is shot, it's not necessarily a crime, it’s not necessarily a constitutional violation, while it is awful and certainly painful,” Mr Carr said.

“I don't want to disparage the very real fact that an 11-year-old child got shot by a police officer, but that does not necessarily on its face mean that it was a constitutional violation or a criminal act,” he continued.

For the officer to be indicted and convicted of criminal activity, the prosecution would need to demonstrate Sgt Capers intentionally shot Aderriene. Mr Moore said, however, he believes the Murrys can win their case in civil court by demonstrating recklessness.

The Indianola Board of Aldermen placed Sgt Capers on unpaid administrative leave in June, and the board will have to hold another vote for him to return to work and receive pay, CBS News reports.

Aderrien suffered a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and a lacerated liver, The Independent previously reported. Doctors later told the Murrys that the bullet came within an inch of piercing vital organs. He was hospitalized for four days.

“Sometimes, I can see myself laying inside the coffin,” Aderrien told CNN days after the shooting. “Those are my thoughts at night, my only ones.”

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation will not release the body cam footage of the incident while the investigation is ongoing, CBS News reports. Magistrate Judge David Sanders sided with the city of Indianola to bar the release of the footage, but Mr Moore told The Independent he has appealed the decision.

“I don’t expect the judge to rule before January on the footage,” Mr Moore said.

He told The Independent he could not describe the video, per Judge Sanders’s ruling, but said the Murry family has now viewed the footage and their position remains the same.

“We have called for the release of the video since the beginning of the case, and we're still calling for the release of the video after seeing it, so you can read between the lines,” Mr Moore said.

The Independent has contacted the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation for comment.

In an earlier version of this story, the headline mistakenly read that Aderrien Murry had been fatally shot. The 11-year-old was shot but survived the incident.

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