An investigation has shown that the use of deadly force by officers in an October 2022 incident in Davenport was justified and reasonable under the circumstances, according to a report from Scott County Attorney Michael Walton.

On October 30 at approximately 2:47 a.m., a marked squad car attempted to follow a Hyundai Santa Fe on 53rd St. The vehicle abruptly turned into the Kwik Star at Spring St. and 53rd, and as it approached the gas pumps, it appeared the driver saw the squad car then drove by the gas pumps and immediately exited. As officers followed the vehicle west on 53rd, it crossed the center line multiple times. The vehicle turned north on Brady St., where officers attempted to stop it. The vehicle pulled to the side as if stopping, then drove off northbound at a high rate of speed.

(photo by Eric Olsen)

As multiple law enforcement agencies became involved, the Iowa State Patrol became the primary pursuer of the Santa Fe. The vehicle exited to 59th St. and ran the stop sign to head west. The vehicle ran a stoplight at North Brady to go south and almost collided with another car. The vehicle ran the stoplight at Welcome Way and 53rd, turning east on 53rd, and ran the stoplight at 53rd and Brady traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph. The driver turned the vehicle’s lights out in the area of 53rd and Eastern and ran the stoplight at Jersey Ridge Rd. to travel south.

Near Kimberly Rd., the vehicle traveled into the oncoming lane of traffic and turned eastbound on 32nd at over 70 mph through a residential neighborhood. At East Kimberly, the driver ran the stop sign and headed southbound at speeds over 100 mph. The vehicle ran the red light at Kimberly and Locust and made a U-turn to head northbound on Kimberly, running the stoplight at Locust.

At this point, the driver lost control of the vehicle on the curve approaching Elmore. The vehicle drove into a ditch and vaulted into the air, landing facing the wrong direction on eastbound Kimberly. As the vehicle headed toward the ditch, three occupants of the vehicle fled on foot. Another person remained in the car. Officers ordered the suspects to “get to the ground.” Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kenneth Voorhees had his taser and advised the suspects to “get on the ground or you’re going to get tased.” A report indicated a suspect was ordered to get on the ground at least 15 times but never did so. During the foot pursuit, officers exchanged gunfire with one suspect, later identified as Kenneth Jamel Carrol, 24, of Davenport; troopers followed Carrol around a residence, and Carrol turned and shot toward Voorhees. Iowa State Patrol Trooper Dwight Swartz witnessed Carrol shoot at Voorhees. Voorhees dropped to the ground, dropping the taser, and pulled out his firearm. Voorhees and Swartz returned fire.

Davenport Police Officers Brandon Askew, Mason Pauley and Benjamin Betsworth and Bettendorf Police Officer Zachary Thomas entered the backyard, and believing Troopers had been shot at and possibly injured or killed, also returned fire toward Carrol. Carrol fled across Pheasant Creek. Officers continued to order Carrol to get on the ground, but he does not comply. Believing Carrol to be a deadly threat to them and other officers, the officers fired at Carrol until he dropped to the ground.

Carroll was later pronounced dead at the scene. Subsequent toxicology reports indicated Carrol was over the legal limit for alcohol and tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine. Crime scene investigators found Carrol’s gun on the south side of the creek, approximately 90 feet from his body. The gun was in the open chamber position, indicating Carrol had fired all his rounds available, emptying the gun. Approximately fifty three rounds were fired by the six officers. Autopsy revealed a total of thirteen gunshot wounds to the head, torso and extremities of Kenneth Carrol. Cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

According to the report:

Iowa Code Section 704.1 defines reasonable force. “Reasonable force” is that force and no more which a reasonable person, in like circumstances, would judge to be necessary to prevent an injury or loss and can include deadly force if it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety or the life or safety of another, or it is reasonable to believe that such force is necessary to resist a like force or threat. Reasonable force, including deadly force, may be used even if an alternative course of action is available if the alternative entails a risk to life or safety, or the life or safety of a third party, or requires one to abandon or retreat from one’s dwelling or place of business or employment.

The evidence shows the use of deadly force by Officers was justified and reasonable under the circumstances. The intentional actions by Kenneth Carrol endangered the lives of many others. It placed the lives and physical safety of numerous people in immediate danger. It was reasonable for Officers to shoot Carrol to prevent injury or death to others.

In Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989), the United States Supreme Court held that the use of deadly force by a police officer must be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable police officer on the scene and in the same circumstances. Under Graham, reasonableness of police use of force cannot be evaluated from the perspective of a civilian nor can it be evaluated with a clearer vision afforded by 20/20 hindsight. The Court further stated that the fact law enforcement officers are often required to react quickly in tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situations are factors that must be considered in determining reasonableness. Since Graham, the Supreme Court has narrowed the analysis to focus on the exact moment that the force was applied.

A police officer may have to continue his use of force until a suspect thought to be armed is fully secured. Jean-Baptiste, 627 F.3d at 821 , Plumhoff, 572 U.S. at 777. If lethal force is justified, officers are taught to keep shooting until the threat is over.

Michael Walton, Scott County Attorney