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AG Review of Fatal Oct. 2022 Police Shooting by Lansing Police: No Charges for Officers Acting in Self Defense
September 08, 2023
LANSING – Today, the Department of Attorney General announced it has concluded the review of the October 4th, 2022, officer involved shooting death of Terrence Robinson, 31, of Lansing, without issuing charges against the officers involved, finding they acted in self-defense. It is the policy of Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office to request the Department of Attorney General review all fatal shootings by officers in Ingham County for the possibility of misconduct or criminal wrongdoing.
On the night of October 3rd, 2022, Lansing police were called to respond to gunfire near the intersection of Malcolm X and Buffalo Street and identified numerous mopeds in the driveway of the nearest residence suspected, later confirmed, to have been stolen property. In the early morning hours of October 4th, Lansing police officers attempted to execute a search warrant on the house. Robinson refused to exit the house or allow police to enter, informed the officers he was armed, and threatened to take his own life if officers entered the house. Lansing police backed away from the home and an officer attempted to de-escalate the situation in an attempt to keep Robinson from harming himself. Robinson fired 16 gunshots at the assembled police officers over a period of 12 minutes and 30 seconds before fleeing through a backdoor of the house. While fleeing, Robinson again fired upon officers. Two officers returned fire in self-defense, each striking Robinson once. Robinson died on Buffalo Street.
Attorneys at the Department of Attorney General reviewed written reports from Lansing Police Department officers present at the scene, body worn camera footage, in scout-car dash mounted video from police vehicles, Michigan State Police Reports, Michigan State Police Laboratory Reports, Mr. Robinson’s autopsy report, the Lansing Police Department’s Use of Force policy, relevant 9-1-1 calls, the search warrant and supporting affidavit for the location, and the training and personnel files of both officers who returned fire on Robinson, among other material.
The legal issue in this case was whether Lansing Police Department officers acted in a legal manner during their interaction with Terrence Robinson when they used deadly force by discharging their respective weapons. Police officers have the lawful authority to use force to protect the public welfare, but a careful balance of all human interests is required. An officer’s decision about the level of force necessary to control an individual will be based on the officer’s perception of the threat and the subject’s apparent ability to carry out that threat.
Under all the facts and circumstances known to police officers on this date, they were justified in their use of deadly self-defense. Law enforcement officers have the same privilege of self-defense as anyone else. Shooting a gun in self-defense requires an honest and reasonable belief that an officer is in danger of being killed or seriously injured. If that person’s belief was honest and reasonable, they can act immediately to defend themselves. The act is justified where the person (1) was not the aggressor, (2) acts under an honest and reasonable belief that they are in danger of death or great bodily harm, (3) retreats from the scene if possible and (4) the only recourse lay in repelling the attack by the use of deadly force.
Here, under all of the facts and circumstances presented, the Department concluded the Lansing police officers acted in self-defense and did not act in a manner that would substantiate criminal charges.
The Department of Attorney General is available to lead or support any investigation of an officer-involved shooting at the request of any county prosecutor or law enforcement agency within the state and today renews this commitment and offer.