Colorado Springs Officer Brandon Lowe will not face charges for police shooting

A Colorado Springs police officer, who shot a man who was driving off in the officer’s stolen police vehicle, will not face criminal charges in the non-fatal shooting, according to a case review.

On May 13 Officer Brandon Lowe fired three shots at Osemeke Uwadibie as the suspect was driving off in Lowe’s patrol vehicle, according to an El Paso County District Attorney’s Office review of the police shooting. Uwadibie was struck in the hand and the shoulder.

Just before the encounter with Lowe, Uwadibie allegedly stabbed a man to death. The suspect led other officers on a high-speed chase on Interstate 25, a pursuit that involved multiple crashes and ended with Uwadibie’s arrest.

At the time the shots were fired, Lowe did not know about the homicide. Uwadibie was driving away from Lowe and no longer threatening the officer, the review found.

Lowe, however, was attempting to arrest Uwadibie for second-degree assault (hitting Lowe in the face) and menacing, the suspect was threatening people in the parking lot when Lowe arrived at the scene.

“A peace officer may use physical force only if nonviolent means would be ineffective in effecting an arrest, preventing an escape, or preventing an imminent threat of injury to the peace officer or another person,” the review decision said. “An officer is justified in using deadly physical force to make an arrest only when all other means of apprehension are unreasonable given the circumstances.”

Lowe had drawn his gun on Uwadibie, but didn’t fire as the suspect got into the police vehicle. Lowe went up to the driver’s side of the vehicle, but couldn’t use pepper spray or an electrical stun device because the window was up.

Under Colorado law, Lowe’s actions could satisfy the requirements for generic use of force by law enforcement officers. Uwadibie did not die in the incident and Lowe’s use of force would not qualify as “deadly physical force.”

“After a complete and thorough review of this case, there will be no charges filed against Officer Lowe due to the conflict within the law concerning the appropriate legal standard to employ when an officer fires a weapon but does not cause the death of the other person,” the review found. “While the facts present in this case are troubling, there is insufficient evidence to establish probable cause that a crime was committed…even if charges were filed there would be no reasonable likelihood of success at a subsequent trial on these facts.”

In December, a judge found Uwadibie incompetent to stand trial for the death of 59-year-old Charles Slabaugh, who was stabbed 19 times, based on results of a competency evaluation, according to The Gazette. Uwadibie did not appear at the hearing after he reportedly refused transport from the jail.

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