By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, July 7, Mobile police officer Harold “Harry” Hurst returned to work, signaling to many that Mobile authorities have cleared the officer of any wrongdoing in the killing of 19 year old Michael Moore in a recent traffic stop.
State Representative Napoleon Bracy (D-Mobile) released a statement from the Leaders for Truth and Justice (a group asking for further investigation in the matter): “We are extremely disappointed that Mayor Sandy Stimpson has allowed Officer Harold Hurst to return back to work. Though this may be following Police Department protocol, his return to work is absolutely disrespectful to the family of Michael Moore and the community, especially since the investigation is not complete. We strongly urge the Mayor – given the current environment surrounding Police shootings around the country – to change this protocol and do not allow Hurst back on the job until the investigation is over. Mobile has been very tolerant and patient. Citizens have listened to their leaders and remained calm. We want them to continue to do so; however, this action is doing nothing but inflaming the situation.”
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in an open letter: “Since the shooting of Michael Moore, the City of Mobile has made multiple unprecedented moves to maintain peace and order, incorporating lessons learned from other communities that have experienced similar tragedies. As an example, within hours of the incident, my Administration called upon the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice to run an independent investigation in parallel with the ongoing investigations being conducted by the Mobile Police Department.”
Stimpson said that he invited the President of the Mobile chapter of the NAACP to witness the autopsy of Michael Moore. He also met with representatives of the Black Panthers, the Nation of Islam, the NAACP, and numerous religious, neighborhood and community groups, as well as the Mobile City Council and conducted two news conferences.
On June 17 the Mobile Police Department released a fact sheet regarding the Michael Moore shooting:
“On June 13, 2016, shortly after 6 p.m., Officer Hurst was on his way to roll call when he observed a white Lexus make a quick left turn from Stanton Road onto Wagner Street, crossing over into oncoming traffic. The maneuver almost caused a collision and caused traffic to come to an abrupt stop. Officer Hurst conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle on Wagner Street.”
“According to Officer Hurst, the Lexus was occupied by three individuals. He approached the passenger side of the vehicle and asked the driver for license and registration but the driver did not have the material requested. The driver provided an identity that came back false and a check on the tag # revealed that the vehicle was stolen.”
“Once determined that the vehicle was reported stolen, the operator attempted to find a backing unit. Officer Hurst made his way to the driver side of the Lexus and asked the driver to step out of the vehicle. The driver complied.”
“The driver exited the vehicle with a cell phone in his hand. Officer Hurst instructed the driver to set the cell phone down and as the driver complied, Officer Hurst observed the weapon in his waistband.”
“Officer Hurst gave several commands for the driver to keep his hands away from the weapon. During this time, Officer Hurst indicated that the driver tried to get access to the firearm and that is when he fired at the suspect. The driver goes down and once on the ground, the driver attempts a second time to gain access to the weapon at which time Officer Hurst said he fired an additional shot.”
“Officer Hurst holds the injured subject and other occupants of the vehicle at gunpoint until backing arrives. Upon their arrival, they handcuffed the injured subject and both passengers. Mobile Fire-Rescue responded to the scene and transported Michael Moore to USA Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries. MPD places Officer Hurst on administrative leave until the preliminary investigation and internal investigation are complete.”
“The other two individuals in the vehicle were questioned along with seven other witnesses including a passerby. One of the individuals in the vehicle stated Michael Moore armed himself with the pistol before the officer approached the vehicle the second time. The passerby stated he saw the pistol on the rear right side of the driver’s waistline.”
According to investigators, Michael Moore had a semi-automatic 40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun. “The white Lexus Michael Moore was driving was reported stolen on June 11, 2016.” “On June 15, 2016, MPD discovered that the handgun found in Michael Moore’s possession had been reported stolen the previous night.” Officers recovered other stolen items in the vehicle including a safe.
The Leaders for Truth include: Bracy State Senator Vivian Davis Figures (D), State Rep. James E. Buskey, State Rep. Barbara Drummond, and State Rep. Adline Clarke.