Rashad Cunningham

Gary Police Officer Isiah Price won't face charges in Rashad Cunningham's death

Contributed By:The 411 News

Lake County Prosecutor Carter says not enough evidence for criminal charges

In a statement released this morning by Lake County Prosecutor Bernard A. Carter, the Gary Police Officer who shot and killed Rashad Cunningham will not be charged.

Prosecutor Carter and his staff met with Cunningham’s representatives and family members this morning to inform them of this decision.

“After a thorough and extensive review of the evidence pertaining to the police-involved shooting resulting in the death of Rashad Cunningham on August 17, 2019,” the statement reads, “it is the decision of this office that criminal charges will not be pursued against Gary Police Department officer Isiah Price, III.

According to the statement, “In the early morning hours of August 17, 2019, Gary Police officers were dispatched as a result of shots fired in the area of 23rd Avenue and Vermont Street. Officer Isiah Price and Officer Antoine Goffin arrived in the area to investigate and encountered three individuals sitting inside of an SUV on 23rd Avenue, west of Kentucky Street.

“While still in the squad car, officers had discussions with the SUV occupants, including the front seat passenger, Rashad Cunningham, who, according to Cornelius Hill and David Nusz, became argumentative and belligerent with Officer Price.”

In January 2020, Cornelius Hill, 24, filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court against Price and the city of Gary. The suit claims Price unjustifiably beat, kicked and battered him during the incident.

The statement additionally reads, “Subsequent laboratory analysis of Cunningham’s blood showed a Blood Alcohol Content of .18 percent and the presence of methamphetamine. The officers exited their squad car, and approached the SUV.

“As the encounter continued, Officer Price and Officer Goffin observed Cunningham raise a gun that he had been holding in his lap and point it towards Officer Price, prompting Officer Price to discharge his service weapon, striking Cunningham multiple times.

“One of the wounds suffered by Mr. Cunningham was a wound track on Cunningham’s right hand and arm and is consistent with his right arm being extended in the direction of Officer Price.

“In a criminal prosecution in the State of Indiana, the State carries the burden of disproving self-defense.

“Under Indiana law, a person is justified in using deadly force, and does not have a duty to retreat, if the person reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the person, a third person, or the commission of a forcible felony.

“Pursuant to the review of the case, this office does not find the evidence and circumstances are sufficient to disprove Officer Price’s claim that deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances, as contemplated by Indiana’s self-defense law.”

Mayor Jerome Prince's statement on the prosecutor's decision included condolences to Cunningham's family. "To the Cunningham family, I know there are no words I can say that will ease the sense of loss you’ve experienced since last year."

"For our community, please understand I am limited in my responses, as the City is involved in litigation in this case," the Prince statement said. "You may be frustrated and upset at the result of this investigation. If you feel the need to join together and express your opinions, I encourage you to do so, but please do so peacefully and respectfully.

"Earlier this year, I announced the formation of a police reform commission in the City of Gary. The commission members were selected by community members. They are at work now, and I expect to see the results of their work shortly.

"We are committed to making Gary a safer, better community, and we are not going to stop striving for that goal.”

Story Posted:11/19/2020

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