Durham police officer involved in fatal shooting of Jose Ocampo not facing charges

An officer involved in a fatal shooting in Durham last summer will not face any charges.
February 6, 2014 3:01:37 PM PST
An officer involved in a fatal shooting in Durham last summer will not be facing any charges in connection with the incident.

On July 27, 2013, investigators said Officer Ronald Mbuthia shot 33-year-old Jose Ocampo in the 800 block of Park Avenue. Police were responding to a report of a stabbing and said Ocampo refused to drop a knife in his hand.

However, an attorney representing Ocampo's family later said three witnesses claimed Ocampo never posed an imminent threat, and that the shooting was not justified.

The incident prompted an investigation by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and the Durham Police Department's Professional Standards Division and Criminal Investigations Division, which is standard procedure in any officer-involved shooting.

It also prompted some to criticism, leading Chief Lopez to write an open letter to address what happened and ask for the public's patience while authorities investigated.

On Thursday, Durham County District Attorney Leon Stanback said after reviewing Ocampo's autopsy, the Medical Examiner's report, 911 calls, camera recordings provided by the Durham Police Department, physical evidence, and interviews with officers, witnesses, EMS crews, and firefighters, he found there was "no probable cause to charge a crime in this matter."

The Ocampo family said they are saddened by the decision not to press charges. The attorney representing Jose Ocampo's family says excessive force was used and there was also racial profiling.

"They are saddened. They are frustrated. They are angry," said attorney Scott Holmes. "They wonder why it has taken so long to investigate this case and they feel very keenly the difference in treatment for the folks who have privilege and those who don't."

The family is now asking for a meeting where the community, city officials and the family would meet.

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