In light of the announcement this week that the Town of North Kingstown has agreed to pay the family of Mark Kilcline $7 million as settlement for the police shooting of the 19-year-old on Feb. 9, 2009, NK Patch presents the Grand Jury ruling from Sept. 17, 2009, that exonerated the NKPD officers of any wrongdoing.
A Statewide Grand Jury yesterday afternoon concluded its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Feb. 8, 2009, shooting of Mark Kilcline (DOB: 3/5/90), clearing the responding North Kingstown Police officers of any wrongdoing in the events that injured Kilcline as well as Patrolman Dan Silva, one of the officers who responded to a “well being check” call that took them to 635 Tower Hill Road shortly after 9 AM that day.
The grand jurors found that Patrolman Silva’s back-up officers, Patrolman John Urban and Patrolman Kevin Gleason, were justified in shooting the 19-year-old Kilcline because they believed that Silva and they themselves were in imminent danger of serious physical harm or death when Kilcline, who had cut himself with a knife in a separate incident earlier that morning, brandished an eight-inch steak knife at them.
Patrolman Silva was the first officer up the stairs at the house on Tower Hill Road, where Kilcline rented a room on the second floor. Armed with a Taser, Silva ordered Kilcline to stop and drop the knife. Kilcline ignored the warning and came at Patrolman Silva. Silva used the Taser on Kilcline, but it had no effect. By this time, Officers Urban and Gleason also were on the second floor. Kilcline continued to charge at Silva, prompting Patrolman Urban, who already had his service weapon drawn, and Patrolman Gleason, who had come up the stairs carrying a Taser but who quickly drew his service weapon, to fire at Kilcline. The officers fired 10 shots, seriously injuring Kilcline. A shot from Patrolman Urban’s gun also injured Patrolman Silva.
The North Kingstown Police responded to the scene after the mother of one of two young women who had stayed overnight at Kilcline’s home the previous night called to report that Kilcline had injured himself earlier on Feb. 8 in the women’s presence, and that the police should check on his well being.
Assistant Attorney General Stacey P. Veroni, chief of the Attorney General’s Criminal Division, and Special Assistant Attorney General Maria Deaton presented the case to the grand jury over sessions spanning two months. Because the grand jury was focusing on the actions of the officers, the prosecutors did not ask the grand jury to consider any charges against Kilcline. They notified Kilcline’s family’s attorney’s office immediately after the grand jury wrapped up its investigation yesterday.Cases involving police officers’ use of deadly force often hinge on the concept of reasonableness. Although there is no definition of “reasonable” in Rhode Island law that is specifically applicable to deadly force cases, the US Supreme Court, in its 1989 Graham v. Connor decision, ruled: “The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments —— in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving —— about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”