The decision not to charge an officer who fatally shot a black woman after police said she “confronted” him with a knife has sparked protests, a lawsuit and the promise of police diversity training.
After reviewing an investigation conducted by Michigan State Police, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie announced Friday that Ann Arbor Police Officer David Ried had acted in lawful self-defense when he killed 40-year-old Aura Rosser shortly after responding to a 911 call on Nov. 9.
Officials say Rosser suffered from “severe mental illness” but was not taking her medication. They said she attacked officers with a knife while they were responding to the call.
“Ms. Rosser’s death, although tragic, was justifiable homicide,” the memo from the prosecutor’s office states.
More than 100 people marched through downtown Ann Arbor Saturday to protest the decision not to charge Ried, who is white.
“You can pretend that she deserved to die or that her life doesn’t matter, so long as you’re a cop or a racist ally of this system of oppression,” protestor Monique Becker told the crowd, according to MLive. “All lives matter. Black lives matter. Black women’s lives matter. Aura Rosser’s life matters.”
Rosser’s sister Shae Ward attended the march and told the Michigan Daily that it’s “outlandish” to think Rosser would have attacked officers or made them feel threatened.
Attorney Gerald Thurswell, who is representing the family, told The Huffington Post that now that the prosecutor’s office had declined to prosecute, they would move forward with a civil lawsuit.
Rosser lived with her boyfriend, Victor Stephens. The night of her death, Stephens called 911 and asked police to “come and get her,” according to a memo released by the prosecutor’s office. He said he had locked himself in a room and that “she jumped on [him].” He also said he might need an ambulance for his hand.