Maryland prosecutors on Thursday ruled out criminal charges against a police officer who fatally shot a man during a tactical team’s predawn, no-knock raid on his family’s home, a killing that galvanized a loose network of anti-government extremists this year.
Duncan Socrates Lemp’s family says the 21-year-old was sleeping in his bed next to his girlfriend when a Montgomery County police officer opened fire, but prosecutors concluded that Lemp pointed a rifle at the officer and posed a threat.
Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson Jr.’s office, which reviewed the case and presented evidence to a grand jury, said in a 17-page report that the unidentified officer was justified in using deadly force.
Members of a tactical unit were serving the no-knock search warrant at the Lemp family’s home about 4:30 a.m. on March 12 when the officer fired five shots through a shattered window from outside, hitting Lemp all five times.
Family attorney Rene Sandler said the report reveals that no body camera videos captured the shooting. She also noted that prosecutors concluded there was no evidence of any crossfire or that Lemp’s gun had been fired.
Sandler said the family, who also is represented by attorney Jon Fellner, is “extremely disappointed that prosecutors declined to charge for the murder of their son,” and they question and disagree with the legal analysis by prosecutors, who they believe “got it wrong, both factually and legally.”
“In reaching their conclusion, they had to unfortunately ignore very important facts from eyewitnesses,” she added. Sandler said the family likely will sue “everyone responsible.”
Sandler said that the Montgomery County State’s Attorney obtained portions of the grand jury testimony of certain evidence and certain witnesses that the Lemps and their lawyers were prohibited from seeing.
“And he did not obtain all of the information. So there’s a lack of transparency here and incredibly unfair process for this grieving family,” Sandler said.
Sandler said that the report was not complete, and it failed to take into consideration eyewitness testimony. She said the Montgomery County State’s Attorney “cherry-picked selected, certain portions of grand jury testimony,” which the Lemps’ lawyers are not allowed to see or use in any way, but there was no information on the officer who fatally shot Lemp.