FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
No Criminal Charges in July 2019 Police Shooting
SPOKANE COUNTY, October 7, 2019 – The Spokane County Prosecutor’s
Office has determined that Spokane Police (SPD) Officer Daniel Lesser was justified in his use of lethal force against Charles E. Jackson while attempting to contact/arrest Jackson, who was wanted on a federal warrant for a parole violation and after Jackson had pointed what appeared to be a firearm at Lesser.
Lesser, in addition to duties with Spokane Police, is also a sworn Special Deputy US Marshal on the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force in the Eastern District of Washington. In that capacity, Lesser receives periodic information updates on individuals known by the Task Force to be dangerous and violent.
One such person that was brought to Lesser’s attention through the Marshal’s service was Charles E. Jackson Jr. In June, 2019, Lesser received information from the Task Force Team Lead for Spokane that Jackson was wanted for a felony warrant issued in the Federal District Court of Montana for a supervised release violation stemming from a conviction for Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Lesser was further informed that Jackson was listed as a violent offender with an extensive arrest history for numerous
assaults, including having fired multiple rounds from a handgun in a 2011 incident that resulted in a conviction and 96 months in prison. Jackson’s last known address was in Spokane and Jackson was known to frequent the area in which Lesser was assigned patrol duties on July 6, 2019.
Once Lesser was made aware of Jackson’s (above) information, he located
Jackson’s Facebook page and further verified Jackson’s penchant for violence and a statement made by Jackson that strongly indicated Jackson was willing to have a violent confrontation with police. Jackson stated “I’m not going back to prison alive.” Lesser also observed pictures of Jackson that showed various identifying tattoos. These included: A tattoo on Jackson’s back that clearly read: “FUCK THE FEDS” and, on the back of Jackson’s head, an octagon-shaped sign that contained the word: “STOP” inside of it.
On July 6th, 2019, Lesser was on routine patrol in the area of 4th and Maple. Lesser was travelling north through the parking lot of the Grocery Outlet at 3rd and Maple, when he was approached by a citizen that had observed a black male hide behind a dumpster in the Chevron parking lot at 4th and Maple when Lesser had driven in that area.
As soon as Lesser turned back to the south, he observed a black male emerge from the area around the Grocery Outlet dumpster and start walking south toward the Chevron parking lot. The black male was wearing a dark colored shirt with blue jeans and was carrying a baseball hat in his left hand. Lesser saw the STOP-sign tattoo on the back of the male’s head and knew that this was the suspect Charles Jackson.
Lesser rolled down his window and yelled at Jackson that he was under arrest and to stop. Lesser stated, “Charles, you need to stop. You are under arrest.” Jackson looked over his shoulder at Lesser and ran southeast through the Chevron parking lot.
Lesser activated all emergency lights on his vehicle and followed as Jackson continued to flee on foot. Lesser continued to yell at Jackson through the open windows of his patrol car that Jackson was under arrest and must stop. Jackson continued to flee southbound on Maple. Lesser tried to block Jackson with his vehicle several times by swerving towards him, but Jackson sped up and evaded the blocking attempt. After crossing Maple and 6th Ave and approaching an alley, Jackson turned right to run westbound down the alley just south of the Mapleview Apartments. As Jackson did so, Lesser observed Jackson look over his right shoulder towards Lesser and
make eye contact with the officer. Jackson then raised his right hand to eye level and pointed a black semi-automatic handgun directly at Lesser. The handgun looked like a Beretta semi-automatic. Lesser thought that Jackson was going to shoot him.
Lesser jumped out of his vehicle and yelled at Jackson to “drop the gun now!” Lesser advised radio that Jackson had a gun and was running west in the alley.
Lesser followed Jackson west down the alley because he believed that Jackson presented an immediate threat to everyone in the area including other responding officers. There were residences and apartments on both sides of the alley. As Lesser ran, he took partial cover to the right side of the alley behind a telephone pole. Lesser fired two shots at Jackson a few seconds after Jackson had pointed what appeared to be a gun at him.
Lesser advised radio that shots were fired. Lesser then continued to pursue Jackson into a nearby apartment complex, where Lesser lost sight of him. Lesser told police radio that shots were fired and broadcast a description of Jackson and the firearm Lesser believed he was carrying. Jackson was later located near 1608 W. 9th Ave and taken into custody.
In the subsequent investigation, it was determined that Jackson had carried a black BB gun very similar in appearance to a Beretta 9mm handgun. Jackson was not injured in the incident.
Under these facts and circumstances, Officer Lesser was justified in his use of deadly force. At the time of the application of deadly force, Officer Lesser had probable cause to arrest a dangerous and violent individual who had an active Federal warrant for his arrest and had pointed what appeared to be a handgun at him. Officer Lesser had a good faith belief in the correctness of his actions. Therefore, no criminal liability attaches and no criminal charges will be filed in this matter against Officer Lesser.
Public Policy and Communications Manager
Spokane County, Washington | www.spokanecounty.org