Prosecutor: Monroe police involved in fatal shooting acted reasonably in moment

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser reviewed what he called “important segments” that led to Monroe police officers fatally shooting a Monroe man in February.

Gmoser met with the media for nearly an hour Tuesday to discuss the events of Feb. 11 when five officers fired 13 shots and killed Dustin Booth, 35, who was experiencing mental health issues near Garver Road and Ohio 63, Gmoser said.

The officers — Sgt. Caleb Payne, Officer Michael Doughman, Officer Skylar Halsey, Officer Micah Day and Officer Austin Whitt — were placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. After a Butler County grand jury recently failed to indict the officers, attorney Konrad Kircher, who is representing Booth’s family, told the Journal-News a federal lawsuit will be filed against the officers and the department.

“The grand jury outcome was not justice,” Kircher said. “The family will now seek justice in federal court.”

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In another interview, Kircher claimed that Gmoser may have shown bias in the case.

Gmoser said 11 years ago when he was hired as prosecutor he made the decision to handle all police-involved shootings. He said he never has received any financial support from police agencies so any claims that he has bias are false. He believes the best practice is for the BCI to immediately be notified following a police-involved shooting, then the case should be handled by that county’s prosecutor.

He said video evidence shows that Booth pointed a fully-loaded 45-caliber pistol at the five officers and they immediately and simultaneously returned fire.

When Booth pointed his weapon, Gmoser said, the officers had “no time” for crisis intervention, or psychiatric evaluation, or which officer should shoot first, or should the officers shoot at all.

Because of Booth’s actions, he either was going to get shot or he was going to possibly shoot the officers, according to Gmoser.

“Those are the five seconds that count as far as criminality is concerned,” he said.

So, he said, the issue of reasonableness was satisfied.

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Before the shooting, Gmoser said there was a two-minute, 40-second sequence after Booth exited the car. As Booth raised his arms and walked away from officers, he refused to obey commands to stop, Gmoser said. A Monroe K-9 officer released his dog that leaped at Booth’s arm, then circled away.

That’s when the officer unsuccessfully tried to take “physical custody” of Booth.

Booth was the father of two sons. His family said he was a great husband and father and coached the boys in multiple youth sports leagues, according to the statement from the attorney. Booth worked for AK Steel/Cleveland Cliffs for 13 years and he had a side business power washing and cleaning the exterior of homes.

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Read the whole story about what happened between Monroe police and Dustin Booth.

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