MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A review of former MPD Officer Connor Schilling’s personnel file turned up information critical of how he handled the arrest of Darrius Stewart.
Internal Affairs found two violations during the July 17, 2015, arrest which led to Stewart’s fatal shooting.
While it was fine to place Stewart in his patrol car without handcuffs, Schilling violated procedure by not waiting for backup to arrive before opening the car door.
Schilling said Stewart attacked him, grabbed his handcuffs and used them to beat the officer.
The two fought, part of which was captured on video before Schilling shot Stewart.
While talking with dispatch, Schilling was advised to move out of Stewart’s earshot because the dispatcher was about to tell the officer Stewart had warrants and was to be extradited.
Not moving away as he was advised was a violation of policy and according to the finding, allowed Stewart to escape the car.
The warrants included one from Iowa City police for two counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one from Illinois for juvenile delinquency.
Darrius Stewart was a passenger in a car stopped by Schilling.
Last week, Schilling was granted an early retirement on a disability claim of post-traumatic stress syndrome.
“This retirement was granted by the pension board because it is required under the city’s pension laws based on the recommendation of two doctors,” said Chief Legal Officer, Bruce McMullen. “Because Connor Schilling was under a doctor’s care, his administrative hearing with the Memphis Police Department was temporarily deferred. His retirement means the hearing cannot continue. ”
The TBI investigated the shooting and passed its 800-page findings onto the D.A., who recommended charges.
A grand jury denied an indictment.
Schilling said he repeatedly told Stewart to stop resisting, but Stewart did not listen.
The two were rolling on the ground when Schilling said Stewart was grabbing at his shirt and duty belt which held his gun and ammunition.
Schilling said he believed Stewart was grabbing anything he could use as a weapon, “Stewart grabbed and squeezed Schilling’s genitals whey they fought on the ground. Stewart gained control of Schilling’s handcuffs and began striking Schilling in the face and arms.”
Schilling said he was exhausted and “believed Stewart was not trying to get away at this point in the altercation; he was trying to do physical harm to him.”
As the struggle, which was caught on video, continued Schilling said he worried he would be knocked unconscious.
Schilling fired two shots, one in the right upper chest, while the other hit his left arm and continued into his body.
After the first shot, Schilling said Stewart ran about 60 yards, and Schilling gave chase.
Stewart reportedly fell to the ground and Schilling was able to get one handcuff on, but left the other off since Stewart had been shot.
Family members of Darrius Stewart are not happy about the early retirement.
“It’s wrong what they did,” said Henry Williams, Stewart’s father. “He got justice, he got retirement.”
But Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams said Schilling is being forgotten in this incident.
“Nobody even thinks about how this affected this other young man,” said Williams.
“He’s a young man too. He’s 23-years-old. He’s only been on the department 3 years.”
Williams said the allegations of not following procedure were minor and he and Schilling were prepared to fight them.