A Mississippi police officer who shot an unarmed 11-year-old boy while responding to the child’s 911 call has been suspended without pay, a move his attorney says was to save money and not an indicator of blame.
The Indianola Board of Aldermen voted in a closed-door meeting Monday to suspend Sgt. Greg Capers, who wounded Aderrien Murry at his home on May 20, attorney Michael Carr told HuffPost on Wednesday.
“The city of Indianola doesn’t want to have to keep someone on their payroll who cannot work,” Carr said. “It’s not that there’s any new evidence. There’s been no discovery, there’s been no finding of guilt by anybody.”
Board member Marvin Elder confirmed the vote to The Associated Press. Neither Elder nor a city spokesperson responded to HuffPost’s requests for comment.
Capers was suspended with pay following the shooting, which left the boy briefly hospitalized with a collapsed lung, lacerated liver and fractured ribs, according to a $5 million lawsuit filed by his family against the officer and the Indianola Police Department.
Aderrien called 911 at his mother’s request around 4 a.m. on May 20 after the father of her younger daughter showed up at their home “irate,” Nakala Murry, Aderrien’s mother, said at a news conference. Murry said she wanted the police there in case things got out of control.
Murry said the responding officer shot her son in the chest as he entered the living room with his hands in the air, as the officer had instructed.
“His words to me were: ‘Why did he shoot me? What did I do?’” Murry said.
Carr said Capers “feels awful” about what happened, but maintains his innocence and is “ready to get his name cleared.”
“This is a complete and total freak accident. It’s not reckless at all,” the lawyer said. “There was no intent at all on behalf of Officer Capers to injure or shoot this 11-year-old young man.”
Carr noted that Capers was named Policeman of the Year by the city in 2021.
The family’s attorney, who has called for Capers’ termination and criminal charges, criticized that recognition at last month’s news conference, saying: “If he’s your best, Indianola, then you can clean house from top to bottom.”
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is leading the probe into the shooting and has said that it will turn over evidence it collects to the district attorney’s office in Sunflower County, where Indianola is located.