Use of force justified in Grundy Center deadlock, Iowa officials say
A review by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office found that the use of force by officers in a Grundy Center standoff that resulted in the death of an Iowa State Patrol soldier was justified and reasonable, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Public Safety Monday afternoon. .
Sgt. Jim Smith, a 27-year-old veteran of the Iowa State Patrol, was shot and killed in an attempt to end an hour-long standoff with Michael Thomas Lang, 41, of the Grundy Center, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
The review erased the actions of Hardin County Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Kappel and Iowa State Patrol Soldiers Josh Guhl, Matt Costello and Spencer Baltes, who all fired their guns as they responded to the deadlock earlier this month, the statement said.
“Because of Lang’s actions, the officers had no reasonable choice but to shoot Lang. Otherwise, officers or innocent bystanders would have been endangered,” a state official wrote in Monday. a letter to the Grundy County District Attorney. “The actions of the officers who met Lang on April 9, 2021 were fully legally justified.”
Around 7:22 p.m. on Friday, April 9 Police at the Grundy Center attempted to stop a vehicle driven by Lang, who officers said had not been cleared to drive. Lang escaped instead and a chase ensued.
Lang eventually pulled over, got out of his vehicle and assaulted a Grundy Center officer, officials said at the time, strangling the officer and disarming the officer with his Taser and radio.
When a Grundy County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived at the scene to assist the officer, Lang reportedly regained his vehicle and drove to his home, where Lang’s father warned officers that “his son had multiple weapons. fire inside the residence, including a .410 caliber hunting rifle, ”officials said at the time.
After establishing a perimeter around the house, an “entry team” made up of Smith, Guhl, Costello, Baltes and Kappel arrived at the scene shortly before 9 pm.
Officers announced themselves and entered the house, officials said. Smith was shot as the entry crew “cleared” the upstairs of the house.
“Shortly after Sergeant Smith was shot, the Hardin County Sheriff’s Deputy, who was part of the entry squad, fired shots at Lang, but the shots failed him. not touched, “according to Monday’s press release.
An Iowa State Patrol Tactical Team attempted to enter Lang’s house with an armored personnel carrier shortly before midnight. According to the statement, Lang repeatedly fired at the APC and the soldiers retaliated, hitting him once in the head and twice in the chest before being taken into custody, the statement said.
“Lang provided no other option for the officers who encountered him other than to use potentially lethal force against him,” wrote Scott Brown, a special deputy attorney general and director of the region’s prosecution division, in Monday’s letter. “Lang had every chance to end the confrontation peacefully and chose not to.”
Lang was taken to University of Iowa hospitals and clinics in Iowa City, where he was initially listed in critical condition before being released Wednesday and taken into custody. In addition to first degree murder, Lang also faces two additional costs:
- Attempted murder, for shooting at officers who had attempted to enter Lang’s house with a wheeled armored personnel carrier. Police fired back and injured Lang, who was being treated at University of Iowa hospitals and clinics before being taken into custody on Wednesday.
- Assault on a peace officer, for allegedly disarming a Grundy Center officer of his Taser and radio and putting the officer in suffocation during a traffic stop on April 9. After the traffic stoppage incident, Lang fled home, where the stalemate occurred.
The Grundy County District Attorney’s Office had requested that the Iowa Attorney General’s Office review the facts surrounding the actions that led to and followed Smith’s death. Each of the staff concerned was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the examination.
Lang is being held in Black Hawk County Jail on $ 3 million bail.
Read the notice from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office:
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