Family of man shot, killed by Union County deputy launch independent investigation

“I just want answers and I want them now; I deserve them know, my grandkids deserve these answers,”
The family and attorneys have requested the reason for the traffic stop and names of the deputies involved, but no answers from the SBI and sheriff’s office.
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 5:32 AM EDT
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - The family of a man shot and killed by a Union County deputy last month has launched its own investigation into what led up to the incident.

The investigators said Malcolm Staton was driving a car with a woman and three children when deputies tried to pull him over in Monroe. The Union County Sheriff’s Office said Staton tried to drive away, hitting three patrol cars. A Union County deputy fired shots, killing him, but the family claims Staton did not pose a threat to the deputies.

Related: Driver dies after being shot by Union Co. deputy, was accused of hitting patrol cruisers

Lawyers from the Cochran Firm and the family are backing up their claim with surveillance video obtained from the gas station where the deadly shooting happened on March 15th.

J’on Staton, the mother of Malcolm Staton, said, “I simply want answers.”

Nathel Hailey, President of NAACP Union County Branch said, “All we ask for is transparency.”

The family of Malcolm Staton has been waiting for answers since the March 15 incident.

“My son was not the worst man on this planet, my son did not have to face the demise that he faced on his 30th birthday,” said Staton.

The Cochran Firm claim the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation will not give them any information, so they’re launching their own investigation.

Shean Williams, Managing Partner at The Cochran Firm said, “we want to know how it is wise and justifiable, and good policing to fire a gun into a car where you have 3 children and his girlfriend.”

The attorneys released surveillance video from the gas station showing the incident unfold.

Their interpretation is that Staton was at the gas station, blocked in by unmarked cars, but when he drove around them, he was hit by two unmarked cars, then shot in the head.

Attorneys say his girlfriend was grazed by the bullet and his children covered in his blood.

Williams added, “what I’ve seen thus far could have been handled in a less, less fatal and lethal way and that’s what the constitution required and that’s what Malcolm was allowed to expect of him.”

The attorneys say no gun or weapons were found in Staton’s car, they have not been told why deputies were trying to stop him, or the names of deputies involved in the incident.

Faith Fox, a Managing Partner at The Cochran Firm said, “The information that we have requested is statutorily required that we receive it and it has been denied to this family.”

The family has requested to see body-worn and dashcam video from the shooting, but that process could take up to 10 days through the court if there is video.

Attorneys say they can interview witnesses, but other information requested will likely be held until the SBI’s investigation is complete, and that’s not something they’re happy about.

“We look at it from the perspective of it gives the police an opportunity to get their story straight to concoct legal justification for why they did what they did,” said Samuel Starks, Head of Civil Rights Division for The Cochran Firm.

“I just want answers and I want them now; I deserve them know, my grandkids deserve these answers,” said Staton

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation told us the investigation is ongoing and the district attorney will receive the case for review once it’s completed. Ultimately, the district attorney will decide to file charges or not.

Officials with the Union County Sheriff’s Office said the department has fully cooperated with the NCSBI as they investigate the shooting.

“The NCSBI’s investigation is ongoing at this time and we are not privy to any of the information obtained by the investigating agents. Once the external investigation is completed, the findings will be turned over to the Union County District Attorney’s Office for review,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

The Cochran Firm says if their investigation finds any wrongdoing, it will ask the U.S. Department of Justice to get involved and the D.A.

“What we’re concerned about is right now is holding someone accountable if the evidence in the investigation shows this was an illegal act and an unconstitutional act,” said Williams.

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