Family, activist slam decision
Family members of Terrance Kellom, fatally shot by a federal agent exonerated by the Wayne County prosecutor Wednesday, said they will file a civil suit now that criminal charges are off the table.
“My son was assassinated in my face. I will never forget that day,” said Terrance Kellom’s father, Kevin Kellom, who met with reporters after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy declined to file charges against ICE agent Mitchell Quinn.
Kellom wore a red T-shirt with a photo of Terrance Kellom and his children, a 2-year-old son and a 2-month-old daughter.
Worthy, who laid out an exhaustive explanation of her decision not to charge Quinn, “is giving police officers a right to assassinate people,” Kellom said.
Karri Mitchell, the Kellom family’s attorney, said a civil suit will be filed in connection with the case. Mitchell did not offer any details of what would be claimed. “We respected her decision,” he said, referring to Worthy. “ She had to do a job. She did it, and now it’s time to do our job.”
The father’s and attorney’s voices were among some still raised in defense of Terrance Kellom, rejecting the official explanation of what happened April 27 at a small house on Evergreen as officers attempted to arrest the parole absconder, suspected in a pizza delivery stickup.
Kevin Kellom insists his son was not wielding a hammer when he was shot, as authorities maintain. A crime-scene photo showed a hammer, with Kellom’s blood, near the body.
Ron Scott, director of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said “obviously we’re very disappointed and we will remember it.” Scott said a rally is planned Aug. 28 at a location to be announced later.
“This not like in the old days where we just going to let it move and we forget about it,” Scott said. “There are lives involved in this situation. The situation about the hammer ... that’s a lie. I’ll make it stronger than that. It’s a damn lie because it didn’t happen the way they said.”
Scott said agents should have tried to talk to Kellom.
“You can talk to someone. You can (get them to) surrender like the rich guys,” Scott said. “You don’t have to take a life.”
Within minutes of Worthy’s announcement, Anthony Coleman, boyfriend of Terrence Kellom’s sister, emerged from the Kellom home on Evergreen.
“Justice wasn’t served,” he said. “I don’t think that was right at all. Right now, I’m just kind of baffled that she… I don’t know. I just can’t believe (Worthy) didn’t take the facts really ...
“I kinda say, ‘Here we go, right again,’ ” he said. “Same old thing. The police get away with it.”
William Miller, 80, lives across Evergreen and down a few doors from the home where the shooting took place. He was sitting inside near his front window when officers entered the home and heard the shots.
He was surprised that it took so long — more than three months — to decide that the shooting was justified.
“To me, I just didn’t think the officer would have lied about the hammer thing. Of course, (the family) said he didn’t have one. But I couldn’t imagine — why would he shoot him if he didn’t have something?”
Quinn’s attorney, David Griem, says Worthy’s decision has brought a “tremendous sense of relief” to his client. Quinn, he added, plans to spend the rest of the day with his wife and three children.
“They are going someplace to just be together,” Griem said. “To be together in the first time in well over 100 days without a cloud following them.”
Griem says he got word from investigators just before the formal announcement Wednesday morning that authorities had determined there was “overwhelming” evidence that Quinn had acted appropriately. The investigation process was lengthy, in part based on the need of prosecutors to sift through the claims made by the Kellom family or its legal team.
“We applaud the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and Kym Worthy for taking the time they did to look at this case from every angle,” Griem said, adding some of the allegations made against Quinn were “horrific.”
“To the various groups that asked for anything from his job to his head early on after this incident took place, I just wish they would have given him the same constitutional safeguards that they would give to all of us,” Griem added. “Just because you wear a badge doesn’t mean that you aren’t protected by the U.S. Constitution. The system worked here.”
If the Kellom family does pursue a civil case, Griem said Quinn welcomes an opportunity to have his day in court and “see the truth come out.”
Griem said he believes that the matter was fueled by the Kellom family attorneys. He added he’d cover the cost of a polygraph test for Kellom’s relatives, if they are willing to take one.
“It’s so easy to talk the talk,” he said. “Why don’t we see where the truth lies.”