From [HERE] The Moore County District Attorney's Office has announced it will not seek criminal charges against the state trooper who initiated a deadly PIT maneuver last year on U.S. 1.
In a news release issued Thursday, the District Attorney's Office said it had reviewed "the circumstances surrounding the forced vehicle stop" and determined that Sgt. James Stahl of the state Highway Patrol "did not use excessive force" when he struck Shonquell Barrett's car on June 29 and forced off the road to his death.
Authorities say 22-year-old Shonquelle Barrett tried to avoid a Booze It and Lose It checkpoint in Southern Pines on June 29, prompting Sgt. James Stahl to give chase.
Stahl performed the PIT maneuver after Barrett fled from a police checkpoint on Morganton Road, leading authorities on a 10-minute chase that reached speeds of 82 mph. The maneuver caused Barrett, 22, to lose control of his vehicle, which careened into a utility pole before hitting a tree in front of a home near Joseph Road.
The news release said Stahl tried unsuccessfully to administer CPR to Barrett, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Short for "Precision Immobilization Technique," the PIT maneuver is typically used as a last resort in police chases. The technique allows the driver of a police vehicle to force a fleeing suspect to lose control of their vehicle by ramming the suspect’s bumper.
The District Attorney’s Office said state troopers were unable to place “stop sticks,” devices used to puncture the tires of fleeing vehicles, in the road to impede Barrett’s car. He was rapidly approaching the commercial districts of Aberdeen and Southern Pines when Stahl initiated the PIT maneuver.
“These portions of U.S. 1 contain many restaurants and businesses, and are heavily traveled, especially on a Friday night,” the release said. “There is also a significant pedestrian presence in the commercial district.”
Barrett can be seen on the video running a red light, cutting through a gas station and driving briefly in the wrong lane to get a vehicle.
Nevertheless, on the video the officer says “light traffic” and clearly shows the roads are empty with only few cars appearing during the chase. Additionally, no pedestrians, traffic or property is affected whatsoever. When the officer attacks with his cruiser, both cars are riding side by side.
A crash report obtained by WRAL News shows Stahl and Barrett were both driving 80 mph on U.S. 1 in Aberdeen when Stahl used the PIT maneuver.
"He could have got him way before that. He had his mother's address on the car. He could have come to the house and got him," said his father, Ulysses Barrett.
"You have the tag [number]. It gave you information. It gave you a name. It gave you an address. He wasn't a felon. He didn't murder anybody," his mother, Charlene Ross said, shaking her head. "I don't know. He didn't rob anybody. Their life wasn't at stake. Their life wasn't in any danger. So I'm just not understanding.
According to the District Attorney's Office, [never mind the 4th Amendment], investigators seized gun ammunition, narcotics, two cell phones and $1,978 in cash while searching the wrecked vehicle. Three days later, a Glock .40 pistol was found in the grass at the intersection where the chase began.
Barrett was traveling in a Honda Civic registered to his mother, Charlene Ross. After her son's death, Ross advocated for a law banning PIT maneuvers and organized a demonstration calling for an end to the practice.
The demonstration was held July 17 in front of the state Division of Motor Vehicles building, located on the same highway where Barrett died. Protestors wore shirts displaying a photograph of Barrett.
”No more dead boys,” they chanted.