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Swedish Police Charged For Fatal Shooting Of Man With Down’s Syndrome

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Three Swedish police officers were charged on Friday over the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man with Down’s syndrome in August.

The man, who also had a form of autism, had run away from his father’s central Stockholm flat late at night, taking a toy gun with him.

Police were alerted after several witnesses spotted him with the gun in the morning of Aug. 2.

Police who responded have said the shooting took place in a “threatening situation,’’ and that the man had not obeyed an order to drop what they believed was a lethal weapon.

One of the officers was charged with causing Eric Torell’s death by firing the fatal shot that hit him in the back, while two other officers were charged with breach of duty, chief prosecutor Martin Tiden said on Friday.

While the toy gun could have been mistaken for a real gun, the officers overstepped their right to self-defence by failing to properly establish the effect of each shot they fired, he added.

Torell was hit by three of the 25 shots fired.

“The police officers should have stopped firing when Eric turned his back on them,’’ Tiden said.

The probe included 127 interviews, forensic reports and visits to the scene in order to reconstruct the chain of events.

Torell’s mother, Katarina Soderberg, told Swedish TV the prosecutor’s decision was “a great relief’’ since it showed that “it wasn’t Eric’s fault.’’

Torell’s death generated a wave of sympathy.

Families and support groups for people with similar intellectual disabilities cited the need for more public awareness.


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