Delaware DOJ will not indict Milford officers involved in fatal January shooting
MILFORD, Del. – The Delaware Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it completed its independent investigation of the use of deadly force by Milford Police officers against Brandon Roberts on January 5th.
The Delaware Department of Justice says it does not intend to indict Corporal Nigel Golding and Patrolman Patrick Karpin based on evidence that it was “objectively reasonable” for them to use deadly force on Roberts.
However Erica Jones, Roberts’ fiancé, feels like the system has failed her and her family. “If it was me or if it was anyone else that did what they did to Brandon and we’re not police officers we would get charged.”
Police were dispatched at 6:23 PM on Sunday, January 5, to a Milford apartment on 21 Linstone Lane. Dispatch told the responding officers that Roberts threatened violence to law enforcement and may have mental health issues. They also told officers that a pregnant woman, later identified as Jones, was inside the apartment and was “being held against her will” and possible weapons were involved.
In the 911 calls released, Roberts can be heard saying, “Yeah I got weapons. I have a big a** machete and an AK-47 and a bomb strapped to me.”
Shortly after, Jones is heard on the 911 calls saying, “He has a mental disability. Please take it easy on him. He is bipolar. He is schizophrenic.”
On Wednesday Jones told 47 ABC, “He wasn’t himself. He’s never ever put his hands on me before Brandon is the sweetest person you could ever know.”
When officers arrived they drew their service weapons, turned on their body cameras and went upstairs to the second floor where Roberts’ apartment was located. Golding reportedly knocked on the door and announced it was Milford Police. Several second later, the door partially opens and Golding sees Roberts standing behind the door but could not see his hands.
Golding reportedly told Roberts to show his hands as the door started to close. Golding then reached to open the door further but Roberts walked out of the door and into the hallways toward Golding with a butcher hand in his right hand. Both officers had their guns drawn when Roberts began walking towards Golding with the knife. Golding apparently tried to block Roberts from moving the knife towards him but missed.
Golding then backed up slightly in the hallway and told Roberts “rise your hands.” However, Roberts apparently kept moving towards Golding at which point both Golding and Karpin opened fire.
“They knew what they were doing. They came in to the building with the intent to kill him because if they didn’t have the intent to kill him they would’ve had a taser. They would’ve had a baton,” says Jones. “So we can’t unlive that. We can’t take that back. Those police officers, I feel as though, what if that would’ve happened to one of their kids?”
The medical report reveals that Roberts’ cause of death was homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds. “The autopsy noted eight distinct gunshot wounds.”
“He loved me and our son so much and I know that he would’ve done anything for me,” says Jones.
According to the ballistics report ten bullet casings and eight projectiles were found, five of them were recovered from Roberts’ body. The report says seven casings were fired from Karpin’s gun and the other three were fired from Golding’s gun.
“Based on the available evidence and the application of expert opinion to that evidence, we have concluded that it was objectively reasonable for Corporal Golding and Patrolman Karpin to believe that the use of deadly force upon Mr. Roberts was immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting themselves. For these reasons, the Department of Justice concludes the use of deadly force by Corporal Golding and Patrolman Karpin upon Mr. Roberts does not constitute a criminal offense under the laws of the State of Delaware.”
The evidence reviewed for this report includes interviews with eight civilian witnesses, interviews with six Milford Police officers, scene photos, 911 recordings, dispatch records, body camera footage, security camera footage from the Milford apartment building, police reports, medical records and the ballistics report.
This independent investigation “expresses no opinion on whether an involved officer’s actions complied with departmental policies or procedures.”
Erica Jones is now being represented by well known Civil Rights Attorney Lee Merritt. She says they plan to file their own lawsuit.
47 ABC reached out to Milford Police for a comment on this decision as well as the status of those two officers. The Chief referred all questions about the report to the Delaware DOJ. He also says, “Due to the potential for litigation in this matter — we are unable to provide any further comment.”