Prosecutor rules GRPD justified in shooting Malik Carey

Posted at 3:25 PM, May 30, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Kent County Prosecutor has ruled Grand Rapids police officers were justified in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old man earlier this month.

Prosecutor Chris Becker released his findings of the investigation Tuesday afternoon.

Malik Carey was shot and killed by police while in his car in the 1300 block of Dickinson SE on May 3.  Police said that Carey refused to comply with officers' commands, produced a handgun and fired at the officers.

During Becker's announcement Tuesday that the shooting was justified, he showed multiple police body and dash cameras videos from the incident, saying they clearly show Carey pulling out a gun and firing at the officers.

According to the prosecutor's written report, Carey fired his gun at least four times before police drew their weapons.  Becker says the two officers were justified in returning fire.

"They have a right to self-defense, they have a right to defend the other officers in the area, and they have a duty to protect the public at large form a person who sees fit to start shooting at officers who seek to place him under arrest," Becker's report says.

Becker's report says that Grand Rapids Police saw Carey sitting in a parked car May 3 in the 1300 block of Dickinson and an officer thought he recognized him as a probation absconder.

Carey's probation agent had emailed police earlier that day to say he had absconded and included a photo and description of where he might be, Becker said in the report.

Police made contact with Carey and initially had "cordial" conversation and there was "absolutely no indication" that the situation would turn violent, according to Becker's report.

Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky says the situation was unavoidable.

"We really felt that this was a shooting that left the officers no other option," said Rahinsky. "This individual, unfortunate for him, the community and his family, made a decision that left the officers no other alternative but the path that they chose."

Both Becker and Chief Rahinsky are calling the event tragic, but say the police were justified in their actions and given no other choice.

"Anytime anyone loses their life there's things you wish had been done differently," said Rahinsky. "Having said that, the actions of Malik Carey left the officers with no other option."

Rahinsky says it's amazing none of the officers were harmed in the incident.

"When I watch the footage a few things strike me," said Rahinsky. "One is how fortunate the officers were the officers were that they weren't struck. The fact that shots were fired at them when they still had their weapons holstered and how appropriately and promptly they responded with the appropriate use of force to address at that time what was a deadly threat."

"It really does emphasize the unpredictability of what those officers, any officer, is dealing with when they approach any situation."

Chief Rahinsky says two of the three officers seen in the videos are back to work, the third is expected back this week.