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Mother seeks charges after prosecutor deems shooting 'justified'

Posted at 6:16 AM, Dec 22, 2020

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The Calhoun County Prosecutor announced Monday no charges will be filed against the officers who used deadly force while trying to perform a traffic stop on September 5th.

Officers with the Battle Creek Police Department say they observed 22-year-old Andrew Blowers driving at a high rate of speed through a residential neighborhood near Main Street in Battle Creek. Officers suspected Blowers was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The vehicle was weaving to the extent of driving through someone's yard on Warren. Police say Blowers had also run multiple stop signs.

When officers tried to pull over Blowers, the vehicle did not stop for their emergency lights. A pursuit ensued, reaching speeds of 90 miles per hour. Blowers later lost control of the vehicle, coming to rest momentarily in a ditch near a patch of trees.

Police say Officer Herbstreith stopped his patrol vehicle in front of Blowers, while other officers approached the vehicle ordering instructions for Blowers to get out of the car. Blowers was revving the engine, which was in gear, spinning the wheels trying to get the vehicle out of the trees.

Officer O'Connell, also on scene, stated he was in fear he may be hit by the vehicle and moved back. When the car broke free, Blowers began driving toward Officer Herbstreith, who back peddled as the vehicle accelerated toward him. That's when officers began firing shots at Blowers.

Multiple shots were fired. The pathologist recovered three bullets from Blowers' body, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The toxicology report indicated Blowers had a blood alcohol content level of .138 with THC also in his system.

"It is my opinion these officers violated no criminal law. They acted in lawful self-defense of themselves and/or others after being put in a potentially deadly situation by the actions of Mr. Blowers," wrote Prosecutor David Gilbert in his summarizing report of his opinion to refrain from charging the officers. "Further the amount of deadly force used against Mr. Blowers was also reasonable due to the danger Mr. Blowers posed to the police officers and public at large."

Blowers' mother, Charese Watson, sent a letter to the Gilbert on Monday urging him to press charges, arguing that she believes unnecessary force was used.

"He didn’t deserve to be executed. I totally believe that he was executed," said Watson, who also hired a police procedure's expert who deemed alternative actions could have been taken in her son's case.

Watson and her attorney contest the truck was not moving toward the officer and they were not trapped, arguing he did not endanger the lives of the officers. They also state Blowers did not have a weapon.

"They fired 16 bullets into that vehicle when that vehicle was headed, traveling in the opposite direction of the police officer, and belying their excuse for excessive force, as though they were in an Afghan war zone because they were in fear of their lives. Well if the vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction of where they are physically located and yet they load that vehicle with 16 bullets, it is clearly an excessive use of force," said Leonard Mungo, representing Watson.

Watson says her next step will be to contact the Governor's office.

To read the full opinion from the prosecutor, click HERE.