JACKSON, Miss. — A white police officer is back at work in northeast Mississippi, weeks after a grand jury declined to indict him in the shooting death of a black man who ran from a traffic stop.
City spokeswoman Leesha Faulkner confirmed Wednesday that Tyler Cook is carrying out administrative duties at the Tupelo Police Department.
Antwun “Ronnie” Shumpert died June 18 after police said he ran from a traffic stop and Cook and a police dog found him hiding under a house. An autopsy showed 37-year-old Shumpert was shot four times.
The shooting has prompted multiple protests, and Shumpert’s relatives are seeking $35 million in a federal lawsuit against the city of nearly 35,700 residents
“The family is devastated by this latest slap in the face by the city of Tupelo,” their attorney, Carlos Moore, said in a statement. “He killed an unarmed man who simply ran from a routine traffic stop. Where is the justice?”
The Justice Department is reviewing the case.
Cook was put on leave after the shooting, and Faulkner said she does not know how long he has been back at work. Moore said he has been told Cook has been back about three weeks.
Tupelo’s population is about 59 percent white and 37 percent black, reflecting the demographics of Mississippi.
District Attorney John Weddle announced Aug. 1 that a grand jury found Cook “acted lawfully” and declined to indict him. Weddle said evidence showed Shumpert was shot four times at close range, consistent with Cook’s version of events that Shumpert had emerged from under a house and beat the officer, leading Cook to shoot Shumpert when the officer feared for his life.
Shumpert’s family and Moore have said they believe Shumpert was bitten in the groin by Cook’s police dog. Weddle said evidence showed damage on that part of Shumpert’s body was a gunshot wound.