Family of man shot by Memphis officer wants case reviewed

Feb 14, 2023, 10:20 PM | Updated: Feb 15, 2023, 3:27 pm
FILE - Mary Stewart, right, holds a photo of her son, Darrius Stewart, before a press conference ou...

FILE - Mary Stewart, right, holds a photo of her son, Darrius Stewart, before a press conference outside The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., July 13, 2016. The family of Darrius Stewart, a 19-year-old Black man who was fatally shot in a confrontation with a white Memphis police officer in 2015, has asked the city’s top prosecutor to reopen the case, a lawyer said Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. (Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal via AP, File)

(Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal via AP, File)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The family of a 19-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a white Memphis police officer during a confrontation nearly eight years ago has asked the city’s top prosecutor to reopen the case, a lawyer said Wednesday.

Darrius Stewart’s father, Henry Williams, wants the death of his son to be reviewed by Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy, who could convene a grand jury to consider murder or manslaughter charges, Williams’ attorney, Carlos E. Moore, said in a statement.

Then-Officer Connor Schilling shot Stewart in July 2015 during a struggle following a traffic stop that escalated after an attempted arrest for outstanding warrants.

A grand jury declined to charge Schilling despite a recommendation by then-District Attorney Amy Weirich, who reviewed an 800-page Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report on the shooting, that he be indicted for voluntary manslaughter and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.

In September 2016, a federal prosecutor announced that there was insufficient evidence to file civil rights charges against Schilling.

Schilling has said he shot Stewart because he feared for his life. He retired due to a disability, police said, in a move that allowed him to receive disability pay.

“Darrius was unarmed and Schilling has never been tried or convicted,” Moore said in the statement. “I am asking that you re-open the case and convene a new grand jury to see if a murder or manslaughter indictment is returned.”

Mulroy’s office said the DA was scheduled to meet with Stewart’s family Thursday and may comment publicly afterwards.

Art Quinn, Schilling’s lawyer in the Stewart shooting, said he hasn’t heard of new evidence being presented in the case. Quinn noted that the TBI already investigated and a grand jury did not indict Schilling.

“I don’t know of any basis why the case would be reopened,” Quinn told The Associated Press.

The request comes weeks after the January arrest, beating and death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man, in Memphis. Five officers, who also are Black, have been fired and face charges including second-degree murder in connection with Nichols’ death. The district attorney’s office has said it will be reviewing past cases involving those officers.

The Stewart shooting happened at a time when police shootings across the nation sparked sharp debate on use of force and racial profiling. It led to peaceful protests and vigils in Memphis, and calls for Schilling to be fired.

Activists and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, called on the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a “pattern or practice” investigation of civil rights violations in the department. Such inquiries often result in sweeping reforms, including staffing and training overhauls.

Moore warned the Justice Department at the time of a deadly trend that preceded Stewart’s shooting. “There have been over 24 suspicious killings of civilians by officers of the Memphis Police Department since 2009,” he wrote in a 2015 letter obtained by AP, “and not one officer has been indicted for killing unarmed, largely Black young men.”

The Justice Department decided not to open such an inquiry for reasons it didn’t explain at the time, and it declined to comment for a Feb. 7 story by the AP.

Moore made the request to reopen the Stewart case under a Justice Review Unit started by Mulroy, who was elected last year. The independent unit works separately from active prosecutions in the district’s attorney’s office and reports directly to Mulroy.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
1 day ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
2 days ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
3 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
3 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
4 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Family of man shot by Memphis officer wants case reviewed