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FBI Says Slaying of NFL Player Justified

Police: Bureau and U.S. attorney's office found no evidence that San Diego officers violated Demetrius DuBose's rights. Critics of shooting decry finding.

November 26, 1999|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — The shooting of former pro football player Demetrius DuBose by two police officers during a confrontation in July was justified, the FBI has concluded.

The FBI and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California reviewed police reports and transcripts of witness accounts and decided there was no evidence that the officers violated DuBose's civil rights, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday.

"It's my opinion that a thorough investigation was done and there is nothing left to do," William Gore, special agent in charge of the San Diego office of the FBI, told the newspaper. "We saw no violation of civil rights statutes."

An official FBI report on the shooting was expected to be released today.

The civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department has the option of reviewing the case, despite the conclusion of the San Diego office of the FBI and the U.S. attorney, Gore said.

San Diego County Dist. Atty. Paul Pfingst determined earlier this month that the shooting, which set off protests and accusations of racial bias, was legally justified. The Police Department and a civilian panel are still reviewing the July 24 incident.

DuBose, 28, was shot 12 times, including five times in the back, during a struggle with the two officers who were attempting to arrest him on suspicion of burglary. Police said he was lunging at them after seizing an officer's nunchakus, a martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected by a short chain.

An autopsy report showed that the former National Football League player had traces of the drug Ecstasy, cocaine and alcohol in his blood.

In addition to the protests, the shooting of DuBose, who was black, by the two white officers led to a wrongful death lawsuit against the Police Department.

Critics of the shooting said they were not surprised by the FBI's conclusion.

"At this point, nothing surprises me," said Sydney Ethridge, president of the Coalition of African American Organizations. "We're not going to stop here. . . . We're going to get to the bottom of this."

DuBose, a native of Seattle, was a linebacker for the University of Notre Dame. After graduating, he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993 and played four seasons.

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