Cops in Noel Death Escape Criminal Charges

Louisiana prosecutors ruled out criminal charges in the death of a mentally ill man who was shot and killed during a confrontation with sheriff’s deputies last year.

Assistant District Attorney Chester Cedars announced that his office determined charges aren’t warranted after reviewing evidence gathered by investigators.

32-year-old Michael Noel was killed on Dec. 21 during a struggle inside his family’s home in St. Martinville. A police report of the incident states that he resisted deputies’ efforts to take him into protective custody and drive him to a hospital.

St. Martinville is about 60 miles southwest of Baton Rouge.

“His shooting was not the product of any evil or malicious intent, but rather, was a reasonable reaction to an extraordinarily intense and volatile situation which was brought on, solely and exclusively, by Michael’s conduct,” Cedars wrote in a 20-page memo provided to The Associated Press.

On Dec. 14, a week before the shooting, a deputy responded to a “mental complaint” at the Noel family’s home and spoke to Michael, who said he “speaks to Jesus Christ,” an incident report says. The report says the matter was referred to the sheriff’s Crisis Intervention Team.

Noel’s relatives sued St. Martin Parish Sheriff Ronald Theriot and two deputies involved in the encounter in March. In their suit they claimed Noel’s shooting was unprovoked and the result of poor training and supervision by the sheriff’s office.

Noel’s mother and aunt said he wasn’t armed at the time of incident and was not a threat to the deputies. The family’s lawsuit says a deputy shocked Noel with a stun gun twice before fatally shooting him.

They believe race was a factor.