A review by Illinois officials has concluded that three officers were justified when shooting an armed man outside of the Hard Rock Rockford Casino in May. The suspect, Bradley James Thompkins, died a month later from the wounds.
Based on the evidence, Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley announced in a report released on Thursday he chose not to charge Rockford police officers Dion Embrey and Jordan Black, and Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputy Giorgi Arbisi.
He said they acted “reasonably and lawfully” during the May 28 incident.
Gambling, Drinking in Casino
Before the standoff with the officers, Thompkins, 51, had been inside the casino. He gambled and was drinking so heavily he was cut off from further alcohol servings, the report revealed.
Thompson twice told casino security guards the security in the casino needed to be “beefed up.” He claimed to have snuck a gun into the casino three times.
Security staff chose to ban him for the next 24 hours. He warned them if any guards followed him as he drove away, he would “shoot them all,” the report said.
About 20 minutes later, Thompkins returned to the casino lot. He was carrying a gun. Local police were notified and the confrontation ensued. Officers ordered Thompkins to drop his firearm. He had already fired a shot into the air.
Next, he aimed the gun at his head and then began to aim the firearm at the officers, Hanley said.
Despite multiple commands to drop his gun, Thompkins failed to do so … Thompkins continued to move toward Deputy Arbisi after being told to back up,” Hanley’s report added. “Thompkins also fired one round into the air, demonstrating the willingness and ability to fire his gun.”
Each of the three officers shot between one and 10 times at Thompkins. It was not clear which officers’ bullets struck Thompkins. He apparently was wounded in four places.
Thompkins later underwent treatment at Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill. for his wounds. He was in critical condition before passing away.
Under standard protocol, the shooting was reviewed by the Winnebago Boone County Integrity Task Force. That includes representatives from 15 law enforcement agencies in Boone and Winnebago counties.
Officers reviewed relevant physical evidence, gathered weapons, interviewed witnesses, listened to 911 calls, and viewed video, including body cam footage from officers and surveillance video from the casino. Their inquiry was then forwarded to Hanley.
There are rules on when officers may use deadly force. “An officer may use force in defense of himself or another from bodily harm,” Hanley’s report explained.
Additionally, based upon the distance between Thompkins and the officers, the presence of numerous civilians, and how quickly the incident happened, officers were justified in firing at Thompkins,” the report added.
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