The first Highland Park police officers to fatally shoot a suspect on duty are now also the first Highland Park police officers to be cleared of criminal wrongdoing for shooting a suspect while on duty. Town Public Safety Director Chris Vinson made the announcement at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
The two officers, Sergeant Charles McGinnis and Officer David Peacock, pulled the trigger on 32-year-old David Hartman last June.
Hartman had somehow escaped his handcuffs and managed to shoot out the back window of the patrol car he was locked in after being arrested for following a woman through Highland Park on a motorcycle and acting bizarrely inside a shoe store. Hartman was killed in the ensuing firefight.
According to a lawsuit filed by the family, Hartman was shot twice in the back and once in the leg as he tried to run away, then at least once more after he was laying face-down on the ground.
Highland Park PD addressed those claims at Thursday's press conference. Hartman was shot in the back because the two officers were on different sides of him as he shot at them trying to escape from the squad car. Police say officers missed his gun, which was "deep inside" his pocket, when they initially searched him.
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To bolster the department's claim that the shooting was justified, Vinson released not only dash cam video from the incident but a full America's Most Wanted-style dramatization. Park Cities People posted a copy:
(Correction: The original post incorrectly stated that only one officer had been no-billed.)
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.