The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) announced Thursday, July 27, that no criminal charges will be filed against two Flossmoor police officers who fired shots leading to the death of Madeline Miller on July 10, 2022.
The office released two documents.
A decision memorandum from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office states: “After a thorough review, the Office has concluded that the evidence is insufficient to support criminal charges.”
The decision memorandum is accompanied by a letter of concurrence to Foxx dated July 12 from Patrick Delfino, director of the Office of the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor.
“Our goal was to address whether the fatal shooting of Madeline Miller-Spells on July 10, 2022 … warranted the filing of criminal charges,” Delfino said in the letter. “Based upon a comprehensive and independent evaluation of the information provided, we find the decision by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to decline prosecution is consistent with the evidence.”
The decision memorandum recounts the sequence of events that led to Miller’s death, most of which were released in August 2022 by the Flossmoor Police Department after its initial investigation.
Flossmoor officials posted a statement on the village website Thursday, July 27, announcing the decision.
“On July 27, 2023, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office released the findings of its investigation, linked here, into an officer-involved shooting, which occurred in Flossmoor on July 10, 2022. The findings confirm that the Officers’ actions were in full compliance with state statutes, pertaining to use of force by law enforcement officers, and that no evidence exists to support criminal charges being filed against either of the officers. Additionally, the State’s Attorney’s Office referred the case to the Office of the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor (ILSAAP) for further review, as required. ILSAAP reviewed the case and concurred that no criminal charges are appropriate.”
The SAO memorandum also cites the relevant legal standard for determining whether use of force is justified.
“A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.” (720 ILCS 5/7-1(a) (West 2018).
The memorandum also cites the law specifically regarding an officer’s use of force:
” … he is justified in using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm only when: (i) he reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or such other person; or (ii) when he reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, both that: (1) Such force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape and the officer reasonably believes that the person to be arrested is likely to cause great bodily harm to another; and (2) The person to be arrested committed or attempted a forcible felony which involves the infliction or threatened infliction of great bodily harm or is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon, or otherwise indicates that he will endanger human life or inflict great bodily harm unless arrested without delay.” (720 ILCS 5/7-5(a) (Lexis 2021).
Flossmoor Mayor Michelle Nelson declined to comment on the SAO’s decision.