PHILADELPHIA (March 19, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that after an extensive review of the evidence – including video, forensics and statements from both Philadelphia Police Officers and independent witnesses – he cannot file charges against the Philadelphia Police Officers involved in the shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown.
“The loss of any life is sad, but it’s heartbreaking when a mother has to bury a child,” said District Attorney Williams. “My team and I have spent hours reviewing statements from multiple witnesses and Philadelphia Police Officers, video from three different locations, DNA and ballistic information, the actions of Philadelphia Police Officers and Mr. Tate-Brown, and extensive physical evidence. All the evidence indicates that Mr. Tate-Brown, after repeatedly struggling with officers, appeared to be reaching for an illegal handgun at the time he was shot.”
District Attorney Williams was joined by civic and religious leaders and elected officials for the announcement.
Earlier in the week, District Attorney Williams met with more than 20 religious and community leaders to present an overview of the evidence (i.e. video, forensic and officer and witness testimony). And last month, District Attorney Williams spoke with the mother of Brandon Tate-Brown to offer his condolences.
The standard that the Philadelphia District Attorney must employ to determine whether a Police Officer used or did not use the appropriate level of force is mandated by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (18 Pa.C.S. § 508 – Use of Force in Law Enforcement). That standard provides for the use of deadly force if the officer reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the use of deadly force against himself or others. In this case, the officer’s actions were not in violation of the crimes code.
Some of the questions that were answered during the investigation include:
QUESTION: Did anyone see Brandon Tate-Brown’s gun?
EVIDENCE: Both officers promptly reported to others that a gun had been seen in the car during the traffic stop. The gun was photographed and recovered from the car immediately after the shooting.
QUESTION: Was the gun Brandon Tate-Brown’s and could it have been left in the rental car from the previous renter?
EVIDENCE: Brandon Tate-Brown’s DNA was on the gun.
QUESTION: Was Brandon Tate-Brown shot from behind after trying to run away?
EVIDENCE: Numerous independent eyewitnesses confirmed statements by police officers that Brandon Tate-Brown was not trying to run away but instead tried to re-enter the passenger side of his car where the gun was located.