The Denver officer who shot and killed an unarmed man who police say was wanted for a bank robbery will not be charged.
This is according to a decision by the Denver District Attorney’s Office that was released on Thursday.
Dion Damon, 40, was shot and killed by Denver Police Officer Jeffrey Motz on April 12. Damon was wanted for a bank robbery that happened on March 17.
The day of the shooting, Denver Police followed Damon’s vehicle to a parking space near West 13th Avenue and Bannock Street. A woman and child were seen leaving the vehicle, and once officers were sure Damon was alone, they boxed him in.
The woman later identified herself to 9NEWS as Damon’s wife.
According to the decision letter, Motz told investigators he pointed his handgun at Damon and asked him to “show me your hands.” Motz says Damon did not comply, and that he thought the suspect was trying to reach for a gun.
Motz also said Damon was shaking his head. At one point, Motz said Damon quickly brought both of his hands up on the steering wheel. Motz, a 20-year law enforcement veteran, thought it was a gun, and fired his weapon seven times, hitting and killing Damon.
An ensuing search of the vehicle did not turn up any weapons. According to the decision letter, it’s possible that Damon had been holding a cell phone.
Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrisey says Motz was cleared because Damon had not complied with his request to show his hands, and because Motz had reason to believe Damon was armed due to the bank robbery that had occurred before the fatal incident.
“Damon was the cause of the legal outcome because he made the sudden threatening gesture pretending to point a gun at Motz,” Morrissey writes in the decision letter. “Why he did this cannot be known. But considering the tense circumstances facing Motz it is clearly understandable and reasonable that he belived Damon was making a move to shoot him and was armed with a gun.”
No officers were injured during the shooting.
Because of where the shooting happened, investigators believe Motz is the only person who had a good vantage point of Damon.
Motz was assigned to the metro SWAT unit at the time of the shooting.