Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley yesterday cleared a Boston police officer for shooting a man in the South End in August, 2012, saying the man was pointing a loaded gun at the officer's head and refusing to drop the weapon.
"The review of more than 1,000 pages of documentary evidence, numerous civilian witness statements, surveillance imagery, and the relevant statutes and case law showed that the officer acted in self-defense against a deadly threat," Conley said of Officer Mathew Pieroway.
In his statement, Conley says Pieroway and his partner decided to pull over a Cadillac in the South End on Aug. 21 after querying a license database and learning the registered owner had a warrant out for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. But when they stopped the car in Rutland Square, driver Burrell Ramsey-White - not the car's owner - sped away. The car then stopped on Harcourt Street, the officers in pursuit, and Ramsey-White got out and began running along the Southwest Corridor Park towards Dartmouth:
The chase continued to the area of Carlton and Yarmouth streets, where a civilian witness watched as White began reaching for his midsection. The witness also heard Pieroway ordering him to stop.
Another civilian witness in the area of Yarmouth Place then heard Pieorway ordering White to "Put your hands where I can see them" and telling him "If you don't stop I will shoot." An additional civilian witness heard the officer shout "Stop reaching, if you reach I will shoot, stop reaching or I'll shoot." This witness saw White at the top of a set of steps near 5 Yarmouth Pl. reaching toward his pocket, with Pieroway about five to 10 feet behind him.
Ramsey-White turned counter-clockwise to face Pieroway. In his right hand, he held a black firearm. Pieroway twice ordered him to drop it. White was at the top of the stairs and Pieroway was at the bottom. White's gun was pointed at Pieroway's head. Pieroway fired, hitting White in the left front of the torso.
White fell forward with his right hand hitting a handrail. His firearm fell into a Dumpster adjacent to the stairway. It was later recovered and found to be a Bersa Thunder .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun with five live rounds in the magazine and one live round in the chamber. Additional responding officers rendered first aid to White, as did emergency medical technicians who rushed him to Boston Medical Center, where he died of his injury.