In March we covered the on-camera killing of a man in a Brooklyn subway by a retired corrections officer.
I’m forced to think of the line from Animal Farm, that “some animals are more equal than others.”
A retired corrections officer named Will Groomes fought with and them pursued an apparently drunk man who had punched him and spat at him in a subway car in Brooklyn.
Once they arrived at the station the younger man, Gilbert Drogheo, attempted to flee. Groomes pulled his weapon and chambered a round, and then blatantly broke the law.
The video plainly shows that the retired corrections officer pursued Drogheo with a drawn weapon, and shoved him. There is then a scuffle, and Drogheo is shot. He later died at the hospital.
Groomes is attempting to claim that the young men tried to rob him, but it is incredibly clear from the video that the younger, smaller man is simply attempting to get away from the armed Groomes, and Groomes was the aggressor who assaulted Drogheo on camera before shooting him.
Incredibly, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson is refusing to file charges against Groomes over what appears to be an obvious criminal homicide:
The retired correction officer who fatally shot a man in a Brooklyn subway station has been cleared of any criminal charges without ever going before a grand jury, The Daily News has learned.
Willie Groomes, 69, told investigators that he was trying to arrest Gilbert Drogheo, 23, during a scuffle near the exit of the crowded Borough Hall subway station on March 10.
“Following a full and fair investigation…I have determined that criminal charges are not warranted in this matter,” Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said in a statement.
“Based on interviews of multiple eyewitnesses to the events leading up to the shooting, our review of videotapes of the shooting itself and other evidence, I have decided not to put this case into the grand jury and will not bring criminal charges against Mr. Groomes,” he added.
Willie Groomes was never a police officer, and never had arrest powers in his life.
Under New York law was a corrections officer, with very limited legal power inside the prison system, and only when he was still an active CO. His claim that he was trying to “arrest” Drogheo is as absurd as if you or I tried to make the same assertion.
Far from attempting an arrest, Groomes pulled a gun on a man he scuffled with, pursued the man off a subway car and up a flight of stairs, and then gunned him down in front of dozens of bystanders in one of the most obvious criminal homicides we’ve ever witnessed.
This blatantly unlawful revenge killing was worse that the shooting of Walter Scott. Michael T. Slager was at least an active duty officer when he shot fleeing suspect Walter Scott. Groomes was never a police officer and never had arrest powers when he stalked down Drogheo and put a bullet in his chest.
Drogheo’s family is understandably outraged at the refusal of the Brooklyn DA to charge Groomes, who stalked down the much smaller Drogheo, and then shot him after he had Drogheo cornered with nowhere else to run.
This case reeks of cronyism, and deserves a full outside review of the case and of District Attorney Ken Thompson’s office.