No indictment in Demarcus Semer police-involved shooting

Posted at 11:15 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 20:46:06-04

Nearly five months after Demarcus Semer was shot and killed by police in Fort Pierce, a grand jury has determined the officers involved were justified in their actions.

The grand jury summary said Semer died from a single gunshot wound to the lower right side of his back, and that he may have been trying to avoid arrest for minor misdemeanor drug offenses.

On the night of April 23rd, officers tried to pull Semer over along North 19th Street. 

The grand jury summary says Semer did not provide his license at first, and officers noticed a small amount of marijuana on the instrument panel.

After refusing to get out, Semer put the car in gear, running over one officer’s legs.  That officer fired his weapon from just above the ground.  The second officer, who had eventually gotten into the car, said Semer was trying to push him out, and upon hearing the initial shots, assumed Semer fired the gun. 

Seconds later, Semer got out of the car, and there was a short pursuit.  The second officer said Semer turned back toward him and raised one of his hands.  The officer said he saw an object in Semer’s hand and fired. 

When finally reaching Semer, his hands were empty, his cell phone found a few feet away.

A search of the car Semer was driving found drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana was found wrapped in plastic along the street, but no prints or DNA could be found on it.

Semer had no criminal record before his death.

His mother, LaTrecia Middleton was in tears after learning that the two Fort Pierce police officers who shot her son will not face criminal prosecution for their actions. “It’s saying that justice is OK to kill… the ones that are sworn to protect us.  It’s not fair.”

Semer would have been 22 Monday.

Nothing prevents us from moving forward with a civil lawsuit.  I look at it this way.  It’s our time now to move forward with an investigation of our own,” said the Semer family attorney Lorenzo Williams.

Pastors with the Lincoln Park Council of Ministers are demanding full disclosure of all the investigative details.

In addition they are requesting that dash cameras be installed in all police cruisers.

They would also like to see more minorities recruited and a civilian review board for complaints about police.

Pastors say they promise to work with the community to achieve the goals and they are asking residents to remain peaceful.

The City of Fort Pierce released the following statement:

We have been notified that the grand jury delivered a "no true bill" for both police officers after considering possible charges in its investigation into the death of Demarcus Semer; meaning the grand jury will not indict.

The City of Fort Pierce continues to keep all those impacted by this tragedy in out thoughts and prayers as we all work together to heal our community.

We are commited to continue a complete, impartial and trasnparent investigative process.

According to City of Fort Pierce policy, the Fort Pierce Police Department will immediately begin an administrative review of the incident to determine if actions were in compliance with policy and training.

Both officers will remain on paid administrative leave pending conclusion on the internal investigation.

 St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara also issued this statement:

Statement from Sheriff Mascara
Today, our nation’s legal system fulfilled its role in society. After a thorough investigation by our agency and an effective presentation of the facts and evidence by the Chief Assistant State Attorney, an unbiased Grand Jury has ruled in the Fort Pierce Police officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Demarcus Semer. I would like to thank the men and women of the jury who served and fulfilled one of the most important rights we are given as Americans. Their decision is the final word and we must accept it.
Any loss of life is a tragedy, and our thoughts continue to be with all involved.

No true bill in Semer case.