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Mosby declines to charge officer in shooting of Baltimore teen who had BB gun

A Daisy Powerline 340 bb gun similar to the replica gun carried by 14-year-old Dedric Colvin when he was shot by Baltimore Police last April. The replica gun resembles a Beretta M9.
A Daisy Powerline 340 bb gun similar to the replica gun carried by 14-year-old Dedric Colvin when he was shot by Baltimore Police last April. The replica gun resembles a Beretta M9. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby will not prosecute the officer who shot a teenage boy with a BB gun in East Baltimore last year, stating in a report Friday that "the case did not rise to a level of criminal culpability."

Mosby's office concluded that when Dedric Colvin turned to face officers "with what appeared to be a real gun" pointed at them, "it would be objectively reasonable for the officers to conclude that their safety was at risk."

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Dedric, now 14, was shot by Officer Thomas Smith in the shoulder and the leg on April 27, 2016, exactly one year after rioting broke out in Baltimore following the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered in police custody.

The shooting, which occurred after Smith and one other plainclothes officer spotted the gun and gave chase, renewed criticism of excessive police force and spurred the City Council to pass legislation banning toy or replica guns in the city.

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Mosby's report, which was posted on her office's website Friday as part of a new transparency initiative surrounding police shootings, said prosecutors had reviewed "three witness statements that support that [Dedric Colvin] turned towards the officers with a raised weapon in his hand," and "one statement that alleges that the juvenile was shot after he dropped the weapon he was carrying."

Attorneys for the boy's family have filed documents in court stating their intention to sue the Police Department for "excessive force, illegal arrest, false imprisonment, deprivation of liberty and property, false arrest, assault, battery."

Dedric Colvin's mother, Volanda Young, who was arrested at the scene, found her son, an eighth-grader at City Springs Middle School at the time, in the street. The family's attorneys have said the boy told the officers that "the gun was 'just a toy' and 'not real' and threw the BB gun to the ground." They said he was shot as he "proceeded to kneel to the ground with his hands in the air."

Jason Downs, an attorney for the family, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mosby's decision.

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