Northampton County DA John Morganelli would rather have an injured criminal than a dead police officer. At an August 30 news conference, the prosecutor announced that announced that no charges will be filed against an Easton police officer who recently shot a fleeing criminal suspect.
This shooting, which occurred on August 21, was during an evening in which police received several complaints about shots fired. Officer Eric Campbell, on patrol in Easton's south side, spotted a group of individuals that included the suspected shooter. But when Officer Campbell exited his patrol car, one of them, Nelson Mayers, fled.
While giving chase, Officer Campbell saw Mayers put his hand in the waist area of his pants. Campbell saw a black object in Mayers' hand when he turned to face him. Mayers even extended his arm, which led Campbell to believe it was a handgun.
Campbell fired twice, with one shot hitting Mayers in the leg. Police then discovered that the object Mayers was holding was a black cell phone, not a gun.
At St. Luke's Hospital, medical staff discovered that Mayers had secreted heroin in his buttocks.
|Chief Carl Scalzo (left)|
"In today's times, police officers have a right to protect themselves," stated Morganelli. "Just about every day, we read about a police officer who has been gunned down while on the course of duty when someone pulls a gun on them and shoots them without reason or cause."
He noted the Officer was in the unfortunate position of being forced to make a "split second judgment."
Morganelli added that Mayers, who was been charged by summons with possession of heroin, will recover from the gunshot wound to his right shin and has no life threatening injuries.
Police Chief Carl Scalzo, who sat with Morganelli during the news conference, noted that Officer Campbell is on paid administrative leave, and his department is still conducting its own investigation of the incident. He added that, before returning to duty, Campbell will receive a psychological evaluation.
Morganelli Clears Easton Police Officer in Shooting