Monroe officers involved in fatal shooting have returned to work

The five Monroe police officers involved in a fatal shooting last month have returned to work after being on paid administrative leave since the incident, according to a police official.

The officers involved were Sgt. Caleb Payne, Officer Michael Doughman, Officer Skylar Halsey, Officer Micah Day and Officer Austin Whitt, the department said.

This week, a Butler County grand jury declined to indict the Monroe officers for the Feb. 11 shooting that killed Dustin Booth.

The 35-year-old was experiencing mental health issues. He was shot 13 times, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

The Monroe police department is waiting for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to complete its investigation into the fatal shooting before it completes its own investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the results will be released, the official said.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser announced the grand jury results Tuesday morning, stating in a press release, “Using lethal force by the Monroe police to stop the lethal threat of force directed against them was justified and appropriate.”

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. The family will now seek justice in federal court. We will file a lawsuit next week against the officers and the department,” Kircher said.

The BCI investigation revealed Booth had a recent history of behavioral issues resulting in a brief hospitalization. On Feb. 11, those issues reemerged and the Monroe Police Department was called in because of concerns that Booth may endanger himself and others with a firearm he was seen to possess, according to Gmoser.

“The Monroe Police Department made the tactical decision not to escalate Mr. Booth’s condition and did not forcibly confront Mr. Booth where he was isolated in his home alone after failing to comply with police orders to stop a vehicle he was driving when the police were informed of his conduct. The home of Mr. Booth is in close proximity to neighbors and any confrontation there was seen as endangering the civilian population.

Two police negotiators by phone were also unsuccessful in convincing Mr. Booth to meet with police and his voluntary temporary isolation was decided upon as the best immediate solution until Mr. Booth decided to come forward peaceably,” Gmoser said.

Late in the day, a friend of Booth took it upon himself to intercede, Gmoser said. The man gave Booth a ride away from the neighborhood and he was able to inform the police via text that Booth was armed with a pistol.

“At a location in Monroe near State Route 63, the police directed the driver to stop and Booth exited the vehicle with his .45 caliber, fully loaded, revolver in a holster over his shoulder and continued to walk away after the police directed him to stop. He did not, but with both hand (s) in the air as seen by a witness nearby. A police canine was directed to intercept Mr. Booth, but was unsuccessful in stopping him. There upon, Mr. Booth was physically confronted by a Monroe police officer as four other Monroe officers converged,” Gmoser said.

“Both the confronting officer and Mr. Booth went down to the ground, and as Mr. Booth stood up with his pistol in hand, he pointed it in the direction of the five Monroe police officers, all of whom immediately fired their service weapons to stop the assault. This action was captured on a police officer body camera and is definitive of the moment before shots were fired. Mr. Booth was struck multiple times and he survived a short time before he died at a local hospital. Using lethal force by the Monroe police to stop the lethal threat of force directed against them was justified and appropriate.”

Body camera videos from the officers appear to show that Booth had a gun in his hand when the officers fired. Warren County Coroner Russell Uptegrove said a preliminary report indicates Booth was shot 13 times.

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 Cleveland Cliffs for 13 years and he had a side business power washing and cleaning the exterior of homes.

He had no criminal record.

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