The Greensboro Police Department has received court approval to release the full body worn camera footage from the 10 Greensboro Police Officers who were present when Officer M.E. Hamilton fatally shot Joseph Lopez.
The shooting occurred on Nov. 20, 2021, in a shed behind the residence at 3504 Cloverdale Dr. When police arrived, Lopez was barricaded in the shed and refused to come out. Hamilton first sent his police dog in to subdue Lopez. According to reports, when Hamilton entered the shed Lopez turned toward him with a black object in his hand and Hamilton fired at Lopez, striking him one time.
According to a press release from Hamilton’s attorney, Amiel Rossabi, Lopez had been charged less than a week prior to his death with possession of firearms by a felon and assault with a deadly weapon.
On Monday, June 6, a grand jury indicted Hamilton for manslaughter and he was fired from the Greensboro Police Department.
At the Tuesday, June 7 City Council meeting, several speakers from the floor spoke about the officer-involved shooting as if they had been there, or at least as if they had seen the body worn camera videos, which have not been released.
During the meeting, City Attorney Chuck Watts read the order from North Carolina Superior Court Judge William Wood filed earlier in the day giving the GPD the legal authority to release the police body worn camera videos.
Wood’s order states, “The custodial law enforcement agency shall release to general public the following portions of the recording…ten body worn camera recordings captured by ten Greensboro Police Officers that depicts the incident resulting in the death of Mr. Lopez from the time the officers arrive at the storage shed in which Mr. Lopez was located on the property until Guilford County EMS began life saving treatment.”
The only condition or restriction on the release states, “The GPD may prepare a compilation of the recordings which must be reviewed and approved by counsel for Officer Hamilton before it is released to general public or anyone.”
So, the full footage of the 10 police officers present will be released in addition to a compilation prepared by the GPD with the approval of Hamilton’s attorney.
Having known Mr.Hamilton for the past 30 years, I can attest to the fact that when he served the public here in Greensboro, he did it in a manner as to not inflict harm on anyone. He has been active within numerous departments, even acting in a capacity of undercover where his interactions with criminals is/was more intense than the one referenced in this article. Its unfortunate that this man lost his life however had Mr.Hamilton been shot, it would of been “just a part of doing his job and the risk you take” mentality. Because Mr.Hamilton was defending himself and the other officers, not knowing what this young man was in possession of, he now is being labeled a murderer. The D.A. of this town should be ashamed of himself. Not only is he creating an environment where people will, once again, feel that cops are bad and do bad things but he is giving the impression that Mr.Hamilton did this intentionally. I realize we are in times racial divide as well as political unrest but knowing the dedication and professionalism Mr.Hamilton has portrayed, as well as knowing him as person friend for many years, he is not the person the D.A. is making him out to be. Shame on the city for allowing this to happen, especially when we are constantly at a 10-100 status almost daily. If you don’t know that means…listen to the scanner (available on any device that allows you to acquire the app.-its called 5-0 Radio) and you will know everything you want and need to know about the lack of officers and the true crime these men and women fight daily. Greensboro is in the top 10 cities for crime (based on economics and size) in the country and that is NOT something to be proud of. NOW we have a district attorney out to make a name for himself. What more can this city take? Pathetic, shameful and going nowhere fast! Mr.Hamilton is innocent and was just doing his job!
100% agree with you Tim. Avery Crump has a personal “woke” agenda and, unfortunately, in her current position has the power to let the guilty go and make the innocent pay. People need to start tracking her cases and see for themselves how she handles (or doesn’t handle) criminal cases…AND DUI cases. It’s ridiculous. She needs to be voted OUT!!!!
Watched the video. Police had a barricaded suspect in a dark space who was both a known felon and known to recently have been in possession of a weapon. At some point, the officer had to step into the dark space and flush the suspect out. I mean that’s his job, right? I suppose there are things he could have done differently, but I don’t know the legalities or the training. I don’t think there are any good answers to this. At the end of the day the suspect had an opportunity to give himself up but didn’t, so I think that puts the onus on him.
So if you don’t give when an officer commands, you should be shot in the face? Did the officer have a fancy date he had to get to or something?
Next time there is a situation like this, law enforcement should call YOU and see how well you handle it.
Sure. We will sit outside and wait the guy out. Not complicated. De-escalation should always be the first choice.
Why don’t you call Janet Reno and talk to her about how she and the FBI screwed up Waco and killed all those innocent people and children. After 50+ days she decided not to wait anymore
Police do not have to come up with a perfect plan or even a “good” plan. The courts have already determined that the threshold for police decision making is “reasonableness”. In other words, the cops do not have to what is best; they don’t have to be perfect; they don’t even have to be right. Their actions simply have to be reasonable.
So like it or not, the only things the jury will get to consider are: Was it reasonable for the officer to enter the shed? Yes. Was it reasonable to believe that the subject inside was armed when he presented a small dark object in his hand to the officer? Based on the facts known at the time, yes. Was it reasonable for the officer to fire his weapon when confronted by that subject with the object in his hand? Yes. Because of the facts known to the officer at the time.
He won’t be found guilty. GPD will be sued by both the deceased’s estate and the officer. GPD will pay both sides. One side because it looks good politically and the other because they have to.
Video out. Travesty that this DA would pursue charges. The video shows nothing. There is no way an educated jury could convict beyond a reasonable doubt. I dare any of you to go in a dark shed at 3:00 am with a known felon who possessed a gun at the same residence the week before. The same felon who has resisted arrest and refuses to obey commands. People never seem to consider if most suspects followed commands these shootings could be avoided. All for the lowest pay in the area, s*&% benefits (no cars), a consistently anti police city council, and weakass command staff. Awesome recruiting poster for the area and the profession.
You put yourself in a confrontation with the police over and over. Sometimes they find that you are not only resisting but also strapped. Sooner or later you will find yourself in one of these confrontations on a dark night, in a dark alley, or in a dark shed. Multiple police all around, armed, adrenaline pumping to the max, and scared for their own safety. You fail to comply repeatedly, then make a sudden move to the police with a shadowy object in your hand…..odds are pretty good bad things can happen. If a person puts himself in that position REPEATEDLY the odds of bad things happening are high and ultimately deadly. I fail to see that as the fault of the officer.
A better officer would have thought of a 100 other solutions…de-escalation needs to be the default versus escalation. Were his actions criminal? I would think not, but the courts will sort it out. I trust the courts more than I trust the police department that teaches it’s officers to escalate with force as it best means of control of situations.
Like what? Name one since you are so well versed in police tactics and training. Wait for him to come out with a shotgun like he had the pre week while hiding in a closet (in which he was charged with firearm by felon). Wait to get shot first. What about the person who called the police? Disregard their feelings of fear? Name one thing all knowing Chris. Read some Supreme Court decisions and know what the standard is in the US for incidents such as these. Just like you say the officer could have made different decisions the criminal could have also made different decisions. Like not beat his girlfriend, not be a felon, not run from police, and obey legal police commands.
You dont get to choose to have a “better officer”. You get the state mandated minimally trained officer that meets the threshold of 70% on the state exam, 70% accuracy when shooting, a 10th grade reading level, and a GED. Chris, you are applying Delta force level training ideals to a group of people who only meed a C average on state government multiple choice tests.
It’s great to want the police to perfect or even just great, but you cannot have that level of expectation based on the training, educational requirements, and pay that they get. You aren’t drawing in a bunch of rocket scientists that are just hoping they can get spit on today for kicks.
Take a look at my comment on reasonableness. That is the only legal standard that applies here. The law does not care if you had a better idea from the comfort of your easy chair. The court does not use the 20 20 vision of hindsight to second guess whether an officer made the best choice in the heat of the moment. The only thing they look at is whether or not it was reasonable for a minimally trained officer to make that same decision.
Go join up if you want to be that better officer. Otherwise keep your Monday morning quarterbacking to yourself because it is irrelevant to the legal standards that will applied.
Here’s your recruiting poster…
Slogan: “At GPD, we’ve got your back! Come join the team.”
Picture: Officer Hamilton in uniform but in handcuffs.
Fine print: ++Until it’s politically expedient for us to rake you over the coals.
When Mr. Hamilton wins his case in a year or so, he should sue for back pay, return of his job status and go to some department that backs their officers, not GPD or Guilford County Sheriff (no leadership). Greensboro has turned into a Gang / drug / violent city. City Council and County Commissioners need to step up now before its too late and bring in Federal resources to take out the Drug cartel. If not we will continue down the path of daily shootings, record Homicides, and more vacancies in Law Enforcement. It isn’t safe to go to the store, restaurants like we used to do. Maybe they should of sent out unarmed Social Workers to that shed at 3 a.m. to talk to this repeat offender who it basically sounds like suicide by Cop, because he barricaded himself in the week before. He shouldn’t have been out of jail from that incident. Did he get a Mental Health screening? Did anyone (DA’s office) look at his record, talk to family, the victim in that case? I bet not
Maybe they should take Chris with them. He seems to have all of the answers for everything.
Chris is our pet liberal dumbass.
Everybody needs one. They don’t eat much and they’re fun to watch.
Court system failed to take this violent felon off the streets. His history was to grab a gun and hide from law enforcement. He ignored at least FIVE warnings to surrender.
“police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments — in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving…The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation.” — US Supreme Court.
When you make police afraid to take risks, the risks do not go away… they are merely transferred to the public.