Outrage over officer back on patrol after deadly shooting

By Ben Garbarek - bio | email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - A Petersburg police officer is still under investigation for a deadly shooting two months ago, but some people are outraged after hearing the officer is already back patrolling the streets.

Petersburg police won't comment on whether the officer involved in the December shooting is back on duty, but community members say they've seen him with their own eyes. Many want to know why he's back on the streets before he's been cleared by an investigation into the shooting.

William Jones says seeing is believing. He says he saw the officer involved in the shooting on patrol before a state investigation has cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.

"This is a serious charge," he said.  "We're not talking about a police officer running an illegal radar that's not working or giving tickets or something. We're talking about a homicide."

Stephen Lee, 22, was fatally shot after getting into an altercation with a police officer.  Lee tried to leave, but investigators say the officer was dragged alongside the car and then shot him.

Lee's family says they're disappointed and surprised this officer is back on duty in the same capacity as before, only a few weeks after he was involved in a fatal shooting.

Claudine Lee is Stephen's mother. She says she doesn't know what this officer looks like, but hearing he's back on the streets makes her family's grieving more difficult.

"I don't understand why he's on the street," she said.  "I could see if they had put him behind a desk. He's not behind the desk. He's still patrolling the streets as he always has done."

Lee's family says they want answers why this officer has been allowed back on patrol so soon after fatally shooting someone.

"It has not been proven by the State Police that what he did was lawful," Lee said.  "(It) hasn't been proven. It's been almost two months and it hasn't been proven and in three weeks you can put him back to work?"

The officer was on paid administrative leave immediately after the shooting. The family says they don't know why Lee was initially pulled over and didn't find out about the shooting until several hours after Stephen had died.

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