Childersburg officer cleared in shooting
by Mark Ledbetter
TALLADEGA COUNTY — Assistant District Attorney Christina Kilgore confirmed Thursday that a Talladega County grand jury issued a “no bill” in a case involving a Childersburg police officer that resulted in a death last December.

On Dec. 3, 2012, Officer Scott Dempsey responded to a call at the Kangaroo Pantry on U.S. 280 in Childersburg when he apparently encountered Roderick Hamilton of Talladega County. Apparently Dempsey believed he had probable cause to draw his weapon and he shot Hamilton at the scene.

Hamilton was airlifted to University Hospital in Birmingham, where he was pronounced dead.

Dempsey was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

Once the ABI completed its investigation, it turned over its report to the grand jury for its consideration.

Sgt. Steve Jarrett, public information officer for the Alabama Department of Public Safety, said that once the ABI turns over a case to the district attorney, it is up to that office to make comments.

Kilgore said a no bill means there is insufficient evidence or no probable cause to indict the officer.

Unlike a “true bill,” the grand jury determines evidence presented against a suspect does not sufficiently support alleged criminal charges and a “no bill” is issued.

Interim Childersburg Police Chief Doug Wesson said that on the advice of city attorney Jerry Fielding there are no criminal charges against the officer and he has returned to work.

Days after Hamilton’s death, his aunt, Bettye Johnson, said she couldn’t understand how such an incident could happen. At that time she said, “They (the police officers) was suppose to have proper training to handle situations like that. If he thought there was a weapon that is understandable — you do what you have to do, but he never had a weapon as of this day.”

Johnson said she received the news of the grand jury’s action from District Attorney Steve Giddens. Johnson said she had no comment regarding the news and deferred to her attorney.

“To be honest, I have no comments right now,” Johnson said. “I have to refer you to our attorney. As for a statement I don’t want to do that right now.”

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com.

© 2013