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Richmond’s Top Prosecutor Won’t Be Reopening Marcus David-Peters’ Case

Marcus David-Peters circle
Some protesters in Richmond have unofficially renamed Lee Circle to Marcus-David Peters Circle. (Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Sara McCloskey contributed to this story. 

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin will not be reopening the case of Marcus-David Peters, the Black man who was fatally shot by Richmond Police in 2018 after her review of the investigation and circumstances around the incident found the killing justifiable. 

Former Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring investigated the incident in 2018, finding the shooting justified. McEachin reviewed his investigation and released her findings on Friday. 

In the report, she said the officer’s use of lethal force was "a reasonable response to the imminent danger presented to himself and the public by Mr. Peters’ continued violent behavior due to his mental deterioration."

Peters was shot and killed along an entrance ramp to Interstate 95, during the evening commute. The 24-year-old struck three vehicles before emerging from his car, running naked and charging an officer.

Thousands of people in the Richmond community called for more police accountability over the summer during racial injustice protests that shook the city. Their demands included the reopening of the Peters case

The news of the findings has drawn attention and frustration from activists, who raised concerns about Peters’ death for years. 

Former mayoral candidate Alexsis Rodgers said in a tweet, that “if officers followed protocol when they killed Marcus-David Peters, we need new protocol.” 

The head of the ACLU of Virginia, Claire Gastanaga said, “There were clear opportunities missed here to not engage or to de-escalate. We must change the way we respond to people in crisis.”

Peters’ death has sparked change in the General Assembly and across the state. This week, Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill passed during the special session establishing the “MARCUS” Alert system, which limits the role of law enforcement responding to people in a mental health crisis. It also makes mental health providers first responders. 

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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