AG: Rapid City police shooting ‘justified’

James Murphy was shot and killed by a police officer in November
Body camera video shows James Murphy, with knife in hand, moving toward a Rapid City police...
Body camera video shows James Murphy, with knife in hand, moving toward a Rapid City police officer. The officer, who thought they had been stabbed, fired two shots, killing Murphy.(Rapid Cit)
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 3:13 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Rapid City police were cleared of any wrongdoing in a deadly shooting of a man Nov. 18, 2022.

The summary, released Thursday by the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, says a Division of Criminal Investigation review “indicates that a Rapid City Police officer was justified in the shooting death of a man who charged at the officer during an incident.”

A RCPD officer, whose name has not been released, shot and killed James Mathew Murphy during an early morning confrontation at an apartment at 330 Philadelphia Street.

“The Rapid City Police Department Officer encountered an armed individual in a dangerous, escalating and tense environment,” said Attorney General Marty Jackley. “The officer attempted to deescalate the situation but the individual they encountered continued with threatening behavior. This was a justified use of lethal force by the officer.”

Police were called to the apartment building because Murphy was reportedly running through the halls on the fifth floor, possibly due to a mental episode, according to the summary.

The summary stated that Murphy had a knife and ran at the officer. When Murphy lunged forward, the officer shot Murphy in the arm. The officer then deflected the knife as Murphy grabbed the officer’s pistol. Regaining control of the pistol, the officer fired a second shot, hitting Murphy in the head. The officer believed they had been stabbed but the officer was not injured.

A witness told investigators that Murphy appeared to be trying to kill the officer. The witness also said people in the apartment were afraid of Murphy, who would have “mental episodes.” Murphy’s family members told investigators that he showed a history of mental illness and erratic behavior.

During the investigation, video was reviewed from the officer’s body camera as well as the apartment security camera system. The apartment video, according to the report, showed Murphy stabbing himself several times before police arrived.

Murphy also had a history of criminal offenses, including arrests for assault, domestic violence, drug and alcohol-related incidents.

The investigation into the shooting was conducted by DCI agents and a Meade County Sheriff’s Office investigator.