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Prosecutor: Officer-involved shooting was mistake; no charges filed

Posted at 10:32 AM, Dec 06, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Kent County Prosecutor announced he will not be filing charges in an officer-involved shooting during a drug raid in September.

Prosecutor Chris Becker says while he does not justify this shooting, he cannot charge Kent County Deputy Andrew Hinds who shot the suspect because he cannot disprove Hinds acted in self-defense, beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Clearly this was a mistake," said Becker. "This was a mistake by the officer, he felt he was in fear [...] where they’re dealing with the two very dangerous individuals, who are coming in after moving a large amount of narcotics, and making the motions that he did."

The shooting happened in the early morning hours of Sept. 3.  The Kent County Sheriff's Tactical Apprehension and Confrontation Team was working with the Drug Enforcement Agency to serve a warrant at an apartment at 3841 Whispering Way Dr. SE.

Blurry surveillance video without sound shows two suspects, Yusef Philips and Ray Lee, walking out of the apartment when the TACT team rushes forward yelling, identifying themselves as police. Then Philips turns toward the deputies, crouches and makes a quick move to his waistband when Hinds shoots Philips in the chest.  Philips survived and Becker says he did not have a weapon on him, only car keys and a phone.

"That was an error, but the law allows for that error to be made," Becker said.

"And therefore, we cannot overcome the burden proving he fired in other than something in self-defense. So that is why I will not be filing charges in this matter."

The raid came after at least one month of police monitoring a large drug ring that extended to California. At least eighteen people have been charged with federal crimes, facing 20 years to life in prison, after the TACT team found 30 kilograms of heroin, cocaine, several pounds of marijuana, guns, body armor and almost $1 million in cash inside that apartment after the shooting Sept. 3. Police determined a semi-truck hauled the narcotics from California to Michigan.