A Guilford County grand jury returned a manslaughter indictment for Greensboro Police Officer M.E. Hamilton on Monday, June 6.
Hamilton was indicted for manslaughter for shooting Joseph Thomas Lee Lopez on Nov. 20, 2021, when Lopez was barricaded in a shed behind the residence at 3504 Cloverdale Dr.
According to the police report, Lopez refused to leave the shed when ordered to by police. Before entering the shed, Hamilton sent in his police dog. Hamilton shot Lopez, who was unarmed, shortly after entering the dimly lit shed. Hamilton was placed on administrative duty after the fatal shooting and was fired from the GPD on June 6 after the grand jury indictment.
The State Bureau of Investigation completed its investigation of the police involved shooting in March and submitted it to Guilford County District Attorney Avery Crump.
Following the indictment, Amiel Rossabi, the attorney for the Greensboro Police Officers Association and Hamilton, issued a press release calling the indictment “a tragic result for Greensboro’s citizens.”
Rossabi states, “Today, the District Attorney presented 15-year veteran of the GPD, Matt Hamilton, to the Grand Jury. In the six (6) months since this incident occurred, District Attorney Crump did NOT charge Officer Hamilton. Presumably, the District Attorney’s decision not to charge was based on a clear interpretation of the law, specifically N.C. Gen. Stat. 15A-401(d)(2). In the six (6) months since this incident occurred, the GPD has taken no disciplinary action against Officer Hamilton and, in fact, did not even perform an investigation of the Internal Affairs Division. Again, clear evidence that Officer Hamilton was simply doing his job on November 19. Nonetheless, despite her authority and her decision not to charge Officer Hamilton, District Attorney Crump seems to have been manipulated by local citizens and others to present this case to the Grand Jury.”
Joe Lopez, the father of Joseph Lopez, has filed a civil lawsuit against the city.
There is police body cam video of the incident and Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “I’ve talked to Tai [City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba] and Chuck [City Attorney Chuck Watts] about getting those videos released.”
Vaughan said that ideally the videos would be released to the public, but if they were only released for the City Council she said, “If we are able to watch these videos, we want to be able to talk about them.”
Several times in the past the City Council has received permission to view videos of incidents but were ordered by the court not to speak publicly about what they had seen.
District Attorney Avery Crump decided to push for this indictment during election year despite having no basis for the decision. It’s a politically motivated, losing case. She is publicly saying that she is inherently anti-police and will successfully drive off the last of the decent police officers we still have in this city. As violent crime and police vacancies soar, we cannot blame anyone but her. She continually loses competent prosecutors to other counties, most recently Mariah Patterson, one of the best DWI prosecutors in Crump’s office. And now she’s actively taking steps to lose more officers as well, all for her own satisfaction and agenda.
Will, you nailed it. She also ran off one of the best DA’s in the High Point office (Walt Jones). He respected the office, the courts, the Police & Sheriff’s Department and worked hard for the community. He is now serving Randolph County and they are the benefits of his experience and work ethic. Crump needs to worry about prosecuting all these old 3 and 4 year old Gang killings, that she was reprimanded over by a Judge for the backlog of them. Maybe she should get with the Attorneys and play “Lets make a Deal” as they usually do and get these criminals into prison so we don’t have over crowded County Jails. We will see what happens as we are stuck with her for another 4 years. The GPD Officer will win his case and sue the City for back pay. Aren’t we considered innocent until proven guilty?
How? This county and city has changed if he can indicted, he can found guilty this city would have no problem locking him up this isn’t Wisconsin.
This is going to be a blow to police morale. The officer was cleared by the SBI. What a travesty. We are going to lose more officers and have an even bigger difficulty hiring new ones.
Avery Crump chooses not to prosecute repeat offenders – some with 20-40 court dates!! Criminals are repeatedly released with no bond or charges. Crime is out of control in our city and we can thank the DAs, the magistrates, mayor and judges for that. I personally appealed to Nancy Vaughn in December about the spiking crime in my work area and she promised me she would set up a meeting with her, Avery Crump and police chief. It never happened. At that time, the person who stole all the catalytic convertors in our area had 22 pending court dates – later is was well over that! Nancy Vaughn promised to go to his hearing and make sure he did jail time. She did not. So it’s a combination of all in charge not addressing the crime issue in this city (I got sidetracked, I know).
We are not going to have any police officers left if this keeps up in Greensboro. I’ve been told surrounding counties set bond and charge criminals – it’s a Guilford County issue!!
Now a police officer defending himself is going on trial all because of this country’s obsession with blaming police every time a criminal is killed. If he wasn’t involved in criminal activity, he wouldn’t have been in this situation. Police cannot second guess whether or not to shoot if they believe they are in danger – it could mean their life. We all need to pay attention and do something about what’s going on in our city!!
More BS from the left.
Another example of why police ARE NOT the solution to our gun death problems.
Read Mr. Rosabbi’s press release Chris. I dare you to go into a dark shed where someone has barricaded himself a week after he was arrested for firearm by felon after that person has repeatedly refused to obey commands. That person then turns on you with something in his hand. The true travesty is an activist DA and a police department that does not support their officers (read the GPD press release). We all know this city council does not support officers. All of this enables them to defund the police department without “defunding” the police department.
Ever hear of flood lights? Hell, a damn dog was sent in first. If it wasn’t shot, they clearly didn’t have a gun. I can think of a hundred other ways this case could have been handled better if the officer used some patience. Lick their boots all you like. Any officer that shoots an unarmed person is a fool. Not sure I agree criminal prosecution is warranted. The courts will sort that out. But to clear this as a ‘good shooting’? There is no excuse for shooting an unarmed perp. The idea that an officer has authority to shoot out of fear (versus actual knowledge) is absurd.
And I’m sure you have a better ” solution?” You might want to sit this one out buddy. Everyone including Stevie Wonder can see what is happening here. Hope one day you need the police in a dire life or death manner and they show up ” unarmed.” But by all means, let’s all have a little compassion for a felon with a wrap sheet as long as my arm who went BACK to the same house he had already barricaded himself in with guns and hid from police in the pitch black dark. THEN stepped out with something in his hand?!? Too bad you weren’t there to ” diffuse” that situation correctly. My guess is you would have crapped yourself before you died.
He was unarmed. They could have used 1,000 other approaches. Heck, they sent the dog in and before the dog had time to pin the perp, the officer when in and shot him in the face! They could have waited him out. Where was he going to go? He never barricaded himself in the house with guns. The house had a gun safe that was locked and he was never in possession of the guns.
So a cop can go into a dark shed where he ‘thinks’ the perp has a gun and shot the first thing that moves? You call that a hero? I call him a fool who has no business being a cop.
You seem perfectly ok with police shooting a human being because he was scared of going to jail and you make up BS about him being some hardened evil criminal who has used guns against police before. None of which is true. While I am not a fan of cops being charged criminally for being stupid, I will be glad to see this go to court and let community know what really happened versus the biased opinions of those who think it is ok to randomly kill people with criminal records.
Disgusting, absolutely disgusting! Nothing but Grandstanding by an Ineffective District Attorney to get re-elected. Doesn’t surprise me as this has become the norm for the current Administration of the United States of America, the State of North Carolina, Guilford County, and the City of Greensboro! Can’t wait to see those suffer that have ignorantly failed to support our Men in Blue, our First Responders, our Military, and our Veterans!
Totally ridiculous move by the DA!!! No wonder GPD is short 100+ officers. Why would anyone want to be a law enforcement officer, when there’s a good chance that you’ll be punished for just doing your job.
If criminals would simply comply with instructions, they wouldn’t get themselves killed.
Required viewing of Chris Rock’s “What NOT to do if the cops stop you” should be required for each criminal that is arrested.
Well said, Mr ED! Who in the right mind would like to be a Police Officer ? Who is responsible of this absurd situation? The DA, the City Council or the City of Greensboro?
No wonder the City has 100 vacancies in the Police Department. Who is going to put their life on the line day after day only to be fired due to an indictment. I thought you were innocent until proven guilty by a jury of your peers. This is nothing but a witch hunt. Either stand by your people or you will certainly soon stand alone.
I would guarantee there are another 100+ vacancies within the next 3 months. Why would anyone stay??
Just one more Question about our current (?) most ineffective Guilford County District Attorney Avery Crump? Was she funded by the biggest destroyer of our Nation and it’s principles by George Soros?
Maybe not shooting unarmed folks should be a priority. Instead it is just politics here in our perverted little city. Trigger happy killers need to be dealt with severely no matter if they are gang members or tax payer funded police forces.
As if GPD didn’t have a recruiting problem before.
For once I wish I would get selected for jury duty. Praying for a not guilty verdict followed by the officer successfully suing the city for malicious prosecution/ wrongful termination.
I hope that ALL GPD officers from patrol to Sergeant develop a bad case of BLUE FLU. Let the DA, the Judges, the City Council, Guilford County Commissioners, GPD Command Staff and the flunky head Sheriff patrol and enforce the law.
ANY Judge that is willing to try this case should be voted out of office. AND our government officials wonder they cannot find and hire qualified personnel. IGNORANCE IS IN COMMAND!
Our government officials wonder why the crime rate is so high, we have failed at least 3 to 4 generations by failing to teach them discipline and respect for law enforcement and now they wonder what is wrong.
Crime is high because the chance of achieving the American dream of owning a home with a wife and kids and two cars in the garage is getting more and more difficult to achieve as the income gap in the US grows. Cops don’t stop crime. The only punish the few they catch.
It is NOT ok to kill an unarmed person just because they have a criminal record. This cop was a fool to not even let his canine do it job before blindly running into the shed and shooting an unarmed man in the face.
But you be you.
You need to re-examine your comment about cops don’t stop crime. Really? Explain why police are called when someone may be breaking into your house or for any other such reason. By the way, police do not punish. A DA charges and a jury decides the guilt or innocence.
They are called to fill out the report so you can file your insurance claim. Again, they are called after the crime is committed. They don’t stop crime. The enforce the law to their choosing.
Adding pain to injury, I am positive that this “ridiculous situation” is causing moral distress in our GPD officers! I’d love to see what the ones that are all talk with no action would do if they were in the officer’s shoes. Have you ever been in a life or death situation where regardless of your stress and fears (Yes, officers are HUMANS too) you must act quickly to save others lives or your own life?