Former Greensboro officer faces manslaughter charge, lawsuit in connection with shooting death

Former Greensboro officer faces manslaughter charge, lawsuit in connection with shooting death

5:22pm Jun 07, 2022
WFDD FILE

A former Greensboro police officer is facing a charge of manslaughter in connection to the November shooting death of a man he was attempting to apprehend. 

Greensboro police say Officer Matt Hamilton was among those who responded after a resident called about someone trying to enter their house during an evening in November 2021. That’s when 29-year-old Joseph Lopez was shot and killed.

On Monday, the department announced that a grand jury indicted Hamilton for manslaughter. He was fired from the department the same day.

Lopez’s family is also suing Hamilton along with the City of Greensboro over his killing.

Attorney Amiel Rossabi represents Hamilton in both the criminal and civil cases. He says the officer, a 15-year veteran, acted in accordance with his police training and North Carolina law.

“He was faced with what he reasonably believed to be a threat of deadly force, and he reacted appropriately with deadly force, pursuant to 15A-401 (d)2, which is the North Carolian statute on point,” he says.

Rossabi called the manslaughter charge against Hamilton a travesty. He wants the full, unedited body-worn camera footage of the incident released. 

According to the lawsuit, Lopez was unarmed and in a room in the back of a garage at the home when Hamilton confronted him. He first told Lopez to come out or he’d send his police dog in. Lopez replied he’d come out when it was safe.

Hamilton sent the police dog into the room and it attacked Lopez. Hamilton then entered the room, and shot Lopez in the face, according to the civil filing.

*CORRECTION: A previously aired version of this story indicated that the shooting took place on November 20, 2021. The shooting took place the night of November 19, 2021. 

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