The Darrius Stewart Shooting: Two Years Later

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Two years ago, a Memphis police officer shot and killed an unarmed teenager. It’s a case which sparked strong emotions and a still unresolved lawsuit.

On July 17th 2015, Connor Schilling shot and killed Darrius Stewart following a traffic stop. Police say Stewart had out-of-state warrants.

Stewart's mother and other activists are gathering in Hickory Hill Monday where the shooting happened.

Stewart's mother says she wants people to know the truth of what happened, months before a federal lawsuit is set to begin.  

"I think it's a good thing that there's still this voice out there, I think it's a positive thing and it's a great way to remember Darrius,” says the attorney who represents Stewart’s father, Murray Wells.

Wells is part of a legal team representing Darrius Stewart's family in a more than $17 million federal civil case against the city of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department. It contends Stewart attempted to flee in July 2015 when he was shot by an “enraged and impassioned" then Officer Connor Schilling, and questions MPD training policies.

"We are no less optimistic then we were the first day. The passions aren't less than they were just because time has passed,” says Wells.

The federal trial, scheduled to begin next June, could be the final legal chapter in the years-long case.

In November 2015, a grand jury declined to indict Schilling, although Shelby County D.A. Amy Weirich recommended charges. In December 2015, the TBI released its report, which included details such as Schilling showing bite marks and Stewart's DNA on Schilling's duty belt magazine. Then in September 2016, the U.S. Attorney announced no federal charges would be filed against Schilling, citing insufficient evidence.

"The district attorney turning this to the grand jury and no indictment doesn't affect us in any way, it really just helped us get the information before we would have gotten it otherwise,” says Wells.

MPD granted Schilling a line of duty retirement in March 2016. Schilling's attorney told Local 24 the previous court rulings in his favor should speak volumes ahead of next year's federal civil trial.


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