By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Politcal Reporter
Tuesday, November 1, a criminal grand jury in Mobile has decided that no criminal charges will be filed against Mobile Police Department Officer Harold Hurst in the shooting death of Michael Moore.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement, “Today marked another point in this tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers remain with all involved. While the Grand Jury has spoken, this chapter is not complete. We must still await the findings from the US Department of Justice and we will continue to fully cooperate in that investigation. Going forward, I am calling on the District Attorney to release the transcript of the Grand Jury proceedings so that remaining questions about the events, evidence and investigations have the best chance of being answered. Finally, on this emotional day, I urge all who desire to express themselves to do so peacefully and constructively.”
According to the Mobile Police Department. Officer Hurst pulled over 19 year old Moore in a traffic stop. While writing up the violation, officer Hurst discovered that Moore’s vehicle was stolen. Hurst re-approached the vehicle. Moore allegedly reached for a gun that was on his person. When he reached for his gun, Officer Hurst then fired four shots, three hit Moore killing him. The gun was subsequently also found to be stolen.
Officer Hurst is White while Moore was Black.
Many in the Black community were suspicious of the Mobile Police Department account of events. The Police Department had previously cleared Hurst of any wrong doing. Mobile Police Chief James Baldwin has defended Officer Hurst’s handling of the situation. A number of protests over the shooting have occurred and a witness, Willie Westbrook, expressed skepticism about the Hurst version of events.
There were a number of public protests over the shooting. Due to the public outcry the district attorney’s office empaneled a grand jury to independently look at the evidence in the Moore case.
Some in the Black community have claimed that they are subject to more police stops and that too many Black men are shot by the police. The Black Lives Matter movement has popularized this narrative in a number of high profile cases, including in Ferguson, Missouri. The officer that shot Michael Brown was also subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing by that Grand Jury.
The US Justice Department is still doing its own investigation.