Albany County Prosecutor: The System Did Not Fail
In the wake of the Wyoming grand jury decision to not indict Albany County Sheriff's Cpl. Derek Colling for involuntary manslaughter, Albany County and Prosecuting Attorney Peggy Trent says that the system did not fail.
Trent said in a news conference Monday that it should be standard practice in the state to convene a grand jury for officer-involved shootings.
The 12-person grand jury met over the course of three days, ruling Thursday that Colling's use of deadly force was justified.
Colling shot and killed 39-year-old Robbie Ramirez of Laramie on Nov. 4 following a traffic stop in Laramie. Ramirez drove away during the stop, was pursued by Colling to his apartment, and was killed after an altercation ensued.
Trent said that she previously questioned the system in the state of Wyoming on how officer-involved shootings are handled, referencing two prior incidents since she has been in office in Albany County.
"In the state of Wyoming, there's no state statute on deadly force, there's no protocol, there's no process," said Trent. "In reviewing that process, I felt we could do it better."
For the case against Colling, Trent convened a grand jury for the first time in Wyoming for an officer-involved shooting and feels it was the best method as opposed to making the decision herself.
"This jury gets to ask questions, they ask questions of every witness," Trent explained about the grand jury process. "This system was done fairly."
Trent said she believes the investigation process could still be improved.
"I believe that DCI and how this was investigated and how this matter was handled needs to be reviewed, and I intend to do that," Trent said.
As far as Cpl. Colling's future with the department, Trent said that decision and any policy changes were up to Sheriff O'Malley. Colling remains on administrative leave.