After reviewing the death of 11-year-old Norman Hood Jr., a Jackson County prosecutor will not criminally charge the Calhoun County sheriff's deputy for fatally striking him with his patrol car.
On May 28, the child was crossing Michigan Avenue at Lenon Street in Battle Creek, Michigan on a motorized minibike when he was struck by a county patrol vehicle.
The cop, whose name has not been released, was responding to a reported robbery in Springfield when he was speeding at 66 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone. WWMT reports the cop did not utilize his police sirens or overhead lights when he barreled through the intersection.
Calhoun County Prosecutor David Gilbert described the reasoning behind the prosecutor’s decision.
“He found the officer was on duty and responding to an emergency call," Gilbert revealed in a written statement. "And while he was violating the speed limit, an officer has a statutory right to exceed the limit under those circumstances.
Jerard Jarzynka, the prosecutor who ultimately made the final decision to decline charges, explained that despite Hood’s death being extremely tragic, “Michigan law provides exceptions to whether the officer must use their emergency lights or siren.”
He went on to detail how Hood, who was wearing dark colored clothing, abruptly turned in front the cop’s car.
“Norman is seen riding the pocket bike wearing dark-colored clothing before abruptly making a sharp turn in front of the deputy.” Jarzynka said. “His actions of doing that certainly resulted in this collision. Suddenly he’s just coming out of nowhere.”
In a written statement, Christine Valdez, Norman’s mother, described how justice was not served in her child’s untimely death.
“I feel that my son was killed and justice was not served. The average citizen would have to pay for taking a life,” she says. ”The officer gets to go back to work and continue with his life. We will always be without Norman.”
Authorities states the officer has been on paid administrative leave since the May 28th incident. Although he may not face criminal reprimand, he may still face internal sanctions.
NewsOne reports Hood's family filed a civil lawsuit, seeking $25 million, against Calhoun County and the unnamed deputy. The case is currently pending in civil court.
Hood, who was remembered for his love for the outdoors and his smile, was laid to rest on June 9.
Photo: Brian Sevald