South Dakota officer says he feared for life before shooting

January 19, 2018

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — A former South Dakota police officer said he feared for his life during a struggle that resulted in the shooting death of a man about three years ago, according to court documents.

Former Mitchell officer Russell Stevenson shot and killed Curtis Meyer, 37, in 2015 during an armed confrontation after Stevenson responded to a noise complaint at a house party.

Court documents filed Tuesday show Stevenson said he didn’t know his body-worn camera wasn’t recording when he confronted Meyer, the Daily Republic reported . Stevenson stated in his affidavit that he believed Meyer was going to shoot him if he didn’t secure Meyer’s gun. He said Meyer gave no indication that he would release his weapon.

“During the struggle, I remember thinking that I was going to be shot and I feared for my life,” said Stevenson. “I remember thinking about my children as I was unable to secure the gun.”

Meyer’s mother, Hon Kasselder, filed a federal lawsuit against the city, Stevenson and the chief of public safety last year. The lawsuit alleged that Meyer’s civil rights were violated.

The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office previously found that Stevenson was justified in using lethal force. Stevenson’s statement provided in the court documents matches his statements with the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation in 2015.

The case is ongoing.


Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com

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