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DA: No charges for Fayetteville police officer who shot man in the back

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West will not file charges against a police officer who shot a man in May 2013.

West said an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation showed Fayetteville Police Officer Denton Little acted appropriately when he shot Lawrence Graham III on May 1. Little had responded to provide backup to another officer who had stopped a car on Sourwood Drive. Graham, 20, was the passenger in that car, and he ran from the car with a gun. Little fired three times, hitting Graham twice in the back.

"How can you explain shooting a person in the back? Where was the threat?" Graham's mother Tracie Knight asked. "To me, I don't see it."

Graham spent two months in the hospital and died on July 2nd.

Fayetteville police say officer little fired when he thought Graham was turning toward him with a gun.

Attorney Allen Rogers who is representing Graham's family said he has reviewed the police dash-cam video.

"There is no video of Lawrence Graham turning toward officer Little with a weapon," Rogers said.

Rogers said Graham had actually thrown the gun into a yard nearby because he was afraid of being caught with the gun, which had been reported stolen.

So now the family is considering a lawsuit against Little and the police department. Knight wants Little off the police force.

"The man that took my son's life, that murdered my son, that's going to walk, to me that's no justice at all," Knight said. "It's hard every day that we wake up and think of my son that we'll never get to see again."

Rogers said he hopes to meet with police representatives to see if they can reach a settlement. Although little has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing, Rogers expects little could still be found at fault in a civil lawsuit.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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