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Prosecutor: Council Bluffs parole officer justified in shooting at suspect who drove vehicle at him

Prosecutor: Council Bluffs parole officer justified in shooting at suspect who drove vehicle at him

COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Pottawattamie County Attorney’s Office said Wednesday that it will not take action against a parole officer who fired shots at a man who drove his vehicle at him during an attempted arrest.

In his report, Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber said Mike Brown, a Fourth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services parole officer, used reasonable force during the incident, which occurred Aug. 20 in Council Bluffs.

According to Wilber’s report, based on investigations by the Council Bluffs Police Department and Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Brown and a fellow officer attempted to arrest Brandon Hines and Kelsey Hanna at 27th Street between Avenue G and McBride Avenue. Hanna was wanted for escape, while Hines had a warrant out for being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon, obstruction of justice and domestic abuse assault.

Sometime between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., Brown saw Hines and Hanna exit a house and walk to a black Ford Flex. Brown pulled his unmarked Dodge Durango in front of the Flex, activated his lights, got out and pulled his gun out as the pair got into their vehicle, the report said. The second officer pulled up behind them.

The report said Hines put the Flex into reverse and accelerated, crashing into the second officer’s vehicle, then put the car in drive and drove toward Brown. Wilber noted that Brown’s vehicle was slightly offset toward the passenger side of the Flex, with a path for Hines to enter the street instead of driving at Brown.

The report said Hines accelerated toward Brown, who shot at Hines six times — hitting the suspect in the right shoulder and hand — while attempting to back away. The car hit Brown’s leg and ran over his foot, knocking the officer down.

Council Bluffs Police located the suspects and a pursuit ensued, which ended in Omaha. Hanna at some point had gotten out of the car and was arrested on Frank Street in Council Bluffs.

Hines was treated at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. Both suspects declined to be interviewed by police, the report said.

According to the report, Brown had been looking for Hanna that week and received a tip that she may be riding in a black Ford Flex, which he eventually located. The report also noted this wasn’t the first encounter between Brown and Hines. While with Council Bluffs Police, Brown was involved in a brief pursuit of Hines that ended with Brown using his stun gun on Hines while taking him into custody.

Wilber said given the evidence, Brown was justified in shooting at Hines. The county attorney referred to Iowa law that states a “person is justified in the use of reasonable force when the person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend oneself or another from any imminent use of unlawful force.”

“My legal review at this point is confined to whether or not criminal charges should be filed for the use of deadly force during this incident,” Wilber wrote in his conclusion. “I find that, at the time the shots were fired by Probation/Parole Officer Brown, he reasonably believed that deadly force was necessary to defend himself from deadly force being used (or to be imminently used) by Brandon Hines.”

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