The New Orleans Police Department has concluded that an officer who fatally shot a man in a New Orleans East apartment complex in January committed no crime and should be cleared.
Police turned over the final results of their investigation into the shooting of Arties Manning III to prosecutors on Aug. 16, according to a spokesman. Officer Terrance Hilliard remains on reassignment while police await a decision from District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office on whether to charge him with a crime.
A special armed robbery squad was searching for a different man at the Carriage House apartments on Curran Road on Jan. 24 when officers encountered Manning. Police said that Hilliard shot Manning three times when Manning raised a gun toward him.
The 26-year-old was shot in the shoulder, side and back, “perforating multiple organs, including the lung, spleen and liver,” according to Coroner Jeffrey Rouse.
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The results of the initial investigation, conducted by the department's Public Integrity Bureau, were turned over to Cannizzaro on July 13, according to NOPD spokesman Beau Tidwell. A supplemental report followed on Aug. 16.
“Our investigation concluded that the officer committed no violation of criminal law,” Tidwell said.
Manning's family has made repeated demands for more information about how he was killed in the course of an unrelated investigation, but it has yet to see the results of the internal probe, according to the family's lawyer.
"We can't comment on any investigation or findings because we haven't seen any," said Katie Schwartzmann, an attorney with the MacArthur Justice Center of New Orleans. "Arties' family has been waiting since January for answers about how and why he was killed. The DA and NOPD have a serious responsibility to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into his death. ... We hope to learn of their investigation findings soon."
Cannizzaro's office has not said when it might make a decision in the case.
Manning lived in the apartment complex where he was shot and killed. Family members said they believe he was walking to another apartment to buy a plate of hot food when he got swept up in the armed robbery investigation.
Another officer's body-worn camera caught the moments leading up to the shooting of Manning, who appears to bolt from police before turning a corner in the apartment complex courtyard. But because Hilliard was in plainclothes as part of the armed robbery investigation, he did not wear a camera during the encounter. Police said they have not recovered any surveillance video of the shooting itself.
Relatives have protested outside police headquarters and called for Hilliard to apologize. They also pleaded with police to clear Manning in the armed robbery investigation, after Superintendent Michael Harrison referred to him on the night of the shooting as a “suspect.”
Police later confirmed that Manning was not involved in the string of armed robberies tied to another man, Harry Palmore, who was arrested on the night of the fatal shooting in that separate investigation.
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Prosecutors charged Palmore with two counts of armed robbery, one count of carjacking, one count of attempted armed robbery and eight counts of illegal possession of stolen things in March.
The victims in one of the armed robberies were the wife and mother of a prosecutor who works for Cannizzaro.
Chris Bowman, a spokesman for the DA's Office, said state law does not require prosecutors to recuse their office from either the case against Palmore or the investigation into Manning’s death because of that relationship.
“That's not a legally recognized basis for recusal," Bowman said.
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