Judge rules in favor of 2 Topeka Police Officers in shooting death of Dominique White

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:08 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:19 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A U.S. District Court judge ruled Monday in favor of two Topeka police officers in the shooting death of a Dominique White.

The ruling was issued on Monday, the three-year anniversary of the September 28, 2017, shooting death of White.

The officers shot White near Ripley Park in East Topeka.

In a 54-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel D. Crabtree, called the shooting “a particularly difficult case.”

The judge noted a significant difference between this shooting and other police shootings.

“Unlike other cases where officers learned later that the suspect wasn’t armed, the officers here actually knew Mr. White had a gun in his pocket,” Crabtree said.

The officers were Michael Cruse and Justin Mackey, who continue to work as Topeka police officers.

White resisted the efforts of Cruse and Mackey to “secure the weapon,” he ignored commands to lie down and stop, the judge wrote.

White broke free from them and ran away "while still armed with a gun in his pocket, Crabtree wrote.

Crabtree concluded that the law wasn’t clearly established that Cruse and Mackey violated White’s Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful searches and seizures.

“So the court holds that the officers are entitled to qualified immunity,” Crabtree said.

Crabtree found that Mackey and Cruse “are entitled to qualified immunity,” and the court granted summary judgment against the plaintiffs claim for excessive force violating the Fourth Amendment.

Mackey saw the gun in White’s pocket, and Cruse later recovered it along with additional ammunition magazines from White’s pocket, Crabtree wrote.

In a ruling issued in 2017 almost three months after the fatal shooting, Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay ruled at that time that Cruse and Mackey were justified in the shooting and the officers wouldn’t face criminal charges in White’s death.

“It is my conclusion that the actions of the officers do not rise to the level of criminal conduct,” Kagay said.

On the morning of September 28, 2017, five gunshots were reported having been fired in Ripley, Park, and two officers were sent to the park.

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