Family outraged over court ruling

May 8, 2008 8:30:43 PM PDT
A family is outraged after a police officer from Roselle who shot a 17-year-old boy will not face disciplinary action.Marquise Randle, the son of a police officer, was accidentally shot during a botched drug raid in November. The former high school track and football star will never walk normally again.

The internal affairs unit of the Roselle Police Department decided not to recommend any disciplinary action against Officer Craig Howlett.

"I just got chills down my whole body," Randle said. "I felt bad. I was crying, actually."

The family's lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, says he has sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney General's Office, asking that the incident be investigated. He said an independent body in the federal justice department should investigate cases involving excessive or unnecessary force.

"There's a strong sentiment that state prosecutors should not be handing this case," Rubenstein said. "It should be handled on the federal level."

Roselle Mayor Garrett Smith said his administration is reviewing the police department's report, adding that the law gives them 45 days to decide whether Howlett and then-acting chief Denis Kelleher will come back to work.

Both Howlett and Kelleher have been on paid leave since the incident.

In March, a grand jury found that Howlett was not criminally liable for the shooting. Randle was shot after a foot chase from a West Second Avenue building where neighbors had complained of drug activity.

Authorities later said Randle had not been a suspect in their investigation. The grand jury found that Howlett's gun accidentally discharged when it hit a piece of plywood.