Paul Jerothe, the White police officer who fatally shot 37-year Naeschylus Carter Vinzant in March 2015, has not been indicted for the shooting death as decided by an Aurora, CO grand jury today.
Vinzant was approached by Jerothe and other officers on March 6 because he had been avoiding his parole and had removed his ankle monitor.
Vinzant was a suspect of domestic violence, kidnapping and robbery as he had previously assaulted his wife and left her injured and bloodied.
The officers caught Vinzant when he was on foot and promptly shot him in the chest only a block away from an elementary school. The shot killed Vinzant by striking his lung and spinal cord.
Jerothe claimed that he feared for his life when he tried to arrest Vinzant. He also claimed Vinzant had gotten in his face seemingly trying to hide something in his pocket. The officer also testified that the unarmed Black man’s criminal history was “playing in his mind” when he made the shot.
The shooting previously sparked protests in Aurora, given its profile as a Black Lives Matter story and the way that the investigation had been botched. Jerothe wasn’t formally interviewed about the shooting incident a week later. The police department also released very few details about the case to the public and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office took months to finish the investigation.
Colorado police officers usually aren’t charged for their on-duty shooting deaths. The last case in which a Colorado officer had been indicted with murder for an on-duty shooting death had been 2014’s Jack Jaquez, Jr. case surrounding a 27-year-old that had been killed by Officer James Ashby—the first time that had happened in 20 years.
Jerothe had previously been celebrated for his work during the 2012 Aurora shooting. Jerothe was placed on administrative desk duty in the weeks following Vinzant’s death.
[SOURCE: The Denver Post]