U.S. Attorney’s Office declines prosecution of Wind River PD officer in fatal 2022 shooting involving BB gun

    (Ethete, WY) – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Wyoming announced today that federal  authorities will not pursue criminal charges against the Wind River Police Department officer involved in the fatal shooting of Terrance Skye Posey of Ethete, Wyoming, on August 11, 2022. 

    This incident occurred on the Wind River Reservation and was thoroughly investigated by  the FBI. Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal  Section of the Department of Justice carefully reviewed the investigation and have concluded that the evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer violated Posey’s civil rights or that the officer did not act in self-defense. 

    The investigation showed that a Wind River Police Department officer was dispatched to Posey’s residence because two individuals had called asking for help, saying that Posey had threatened them with a knife and was outside with a BB gun. When the officer arrived, the individuals were still in the home and asking for help. The officer knocked on the front door, and through a window in the door the officer saw Mr. Posey approach. The officer asked him to come outside. Posey refused, told the officer to go away, and disappeared into the residence. The officer then heard individuals yelling from inside the home that they were locked in the bedroom. Mr. Posey returned to the door and pointed a weapon at the officer.  


    From the officer’s perspective, the weapon appeared virtually identical to a semiautomatic   handgun. The officer ordered Posey to drop the weapon, but Posey continued to point it at the officer, tracking the officer as he moved. Believing that Posey intended to shoot him with the weapon, and being unable to determine it was not a firearm, the officer shot Mr. Posey through the door. The officer then entered the residence and attempted to resuscitate Posey, but he was unsuccessful. When investigators inspected Posey’s weapon, they determined that it was not a firearm, but rather was a BB gun that looked very much like a firearm.

    Applying applicable legal principles, and the Principles of Federal Prosecution, federal  prosecutors determined that no criminal charges should be brought against the officer. They concluded the evidence was insufficient to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer did not reasonably believe the force he used was necessary to defend himself against an immediate threat of death or great bodily harm. They further concluded the evidence was insufficient to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that rather than acting in self-defense, the officer acted  unreasonably and for the specific purpose of violating Posey’s constitutional right to be free from  an unreasonable use of force.  

    After deciding that no criminal charges should be filed, federal authorities notified Mr. Posey’s family of this decision.


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