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Officer Cleared in Fatal Shooting

In what is being called a drug-related tragedy, the police officer who killed a man in Grayling earlier this year has been cleared. The shooting has been ruled justified.

The sequence of events is clear, but the motivations and details are not. Police first contacted William Reddie during a domestic disturbance call. No arrests were made, but an officer reported smelling marijuana. He stated this to Child Protective Services (CPS) because there was a three year old in the home. This in itself might not be a crime, because the use of medical marijuana is allowed in Michigan, although there is no report that Reddie or another resident had a medical marijuana card.

Workers from CPS then went to the apartment and decided to pursue a removal order. They obtained a court order to take the child and police accompanied them to do so.

This is where the tragedy happened.

According to news reports about the incident, during the removal process, Reddie pulled a pocket knife and one of the officers shot him. Roscommon prosecutor, Mark Jernigan determined that the shooting was justified, saying, “The deceased was in possession of an edged weapon," Jernigan said. "The deceased pulled a knife and hid it behind his back. At the point where he pulls his hand forward and lunges at the officer, he is in such close proximity, and presents a clear danger of deadly force, the officer is left with no option other than to use deadly force to protect himself [and others]”

The allegation that led to the child protection order was that Reddie was smoking marijuana in the child’s presence. An autopsy on the slain man showed no alcohol or marijuana in his system – backing up the claim that removing the child wasn’t warranted.

After the death of his father, the child was placed in the custody of Social Services.

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