Dec 14, 2015 3:03 PM by News Staff, WARNING: The video featured above contains material some viewers may find disturbing.
Four days after announcing a decision not to file charges against a Paradise police officer who shot a DUI suspect in the neck, District Attorney Mike Ramsey explained why he came to the decision he did.
The controversy comes after Ramsey released dash cam video showing 26-year-old DUI suspect Andrew Thomas being shot in the neck by Paradise Police Officer Patrick Feaster on Thanksgiving.
The crash happened as Thomas and his wife, 23-year-old Darien Ehorn, were leaving the Canteena Bar in Paradise. Ehorn was ejected from the car and died on the scene.
Officer Feaster saw the crash, and according to Ramsey, Feaster drew his gun and “accidently” fired at Thomas.
Ramsey says the community response to his decision not to file charges has prompted him to release a “Lay” version of the original report, which he asks that people read in conjunction with his official report.
In the “Lay” report Ramsey said, “most of the persons who view the video for the first time, like the investigative team itself that night, are justifiably horrified by what they first see.”
Ramsey said his official report was not a determination of whether Officer Feaster should have pulled his weapon, and said some investigators expressed concern as to whether the gun was necessary and whether there could have been another approach. According to Ramsey, his report “was not, and never was, intended to pass judgment upon the tactics and judgment exercised by the officer that night.”
Ramsey said that while he is aware some people in the public will never accept his decision, investigators were clear in their findings that the officer did not purposely, or intentionally fire his pistol.
“Without being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a conscious, intentional, willful pulling of the trigger, there are no criminal charges that can be filed under California law for the negligent discharge of a weapon resulting in injury, no matter how horrible, as long as there is not a death,” Ramsey said.
The crash happened as Thomas and his wife, 23-year-old Darien Ehorn were leaving the Canteena Bar in Paradise. Ehorn was ejected from the car and died on the scene.
Officer Feaster saw the crash, and according to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, when Thomas “popped” out of the SUV, Feaster drew his gun and “accidently” fired.