Denver Police Department Officer Cleared in Killing of Lakota Man

Paul Castaway killed by Denver Police officer

Paul Castaway (left) killed by Denver Police officer. Photo from Facebook

District Attorney: “Officer had no other choice.”

Published September 15, 2015

DENVER — A Denver Police officer will not be charged in the shooting death of a mentally-ill Lakota man that took place on July 12, 2015.

Paul Castaway, 35, reportedly asked the officer after he was shot twice in the torso:

“What’s wrong with you guys?” He later died as the result of the gunshot wounds.

On Monday, September 14, 2015, District Attorney Mitch Morrissey released his ruling in a letter that cleared Denver Police Department officer Michael Traudt. The letter stated that the officer was justified to shoot Castaway because the officer feared for his life.

Morrissey’s report indicates Castaway was carrying a seven and half-inch knife and had an “astounding combination” of alcohol and drugs in his system. The letter also indicates Castaway was violent and suicidal.

Castaway refused to drop the knife to the ground as directed by Officer Traudt.

The police were initially called by Castaway’s mother, Lynn Eagle Feather, who did not want him in her apartment while he was intoxicated. She and her grandchildren were home when Castaway showed up after he had been drinking.

“Castaway’s actions and the statements he made suggest he had decided to die and further decided that Officer Traudt would be the instrument of his demise,” the letter said. “Officer Traudt’s decision to fire his pistol was, under these circumstances, objectively reasonable and appropriate. Indeed, Castaway gave him no other choice.”

Castaway’s family is represented by a Denver-based attorney who indicated the family is reviewing its option now that the district attorney’s ruling has been released.

Two days after her son’s death in July, Eagle Feather told a Denver television reporter she regretted calling the police. She han not expected her son would be killed by them.

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