Cases of law enforcement officers charged in shootings
DALLAS (AP) — The indictment of Dallas police officer Amber Guyger on a murder charge in the killing of an unarmed black neighbor marks the latest development in a national conversation on issues of law enforcement and race.
A look at that case and others in recent years in which law enforcement officers faced charges for the shooting deaths of black people:
A Dallas County grand jury indicted Guyger Friday on a charge of murder in the Sept. 6 killing of her unarmed black neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Jean. Guyger originally was arrested on a manslaughter charge but the grand jury decided on the more serious charge of murder. The white police officer told investigators she had just ended a shift when she returned in uniform to her apartment complex and mistook Jean’s apartment for her own after parking on the wrong floor of the complex parking garage.
JASON VAN DYKE
In October, Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. The white Chicago police officer shot McDonald 16 times. The shooting drew international attention when a judge forced the city to release squad car video of the shooting. The video sparked massive protests, cost the Chicago police superintendent his job, and prompted federal and local investigations. Van Dyke was suspended without pay.
Bates, a white Tulsa County, Oklahoma, volunteer sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for second-degree manslaughter in the April 2015 death of Eric Harris, 44, who was unarmed and restrained. Bates, 74, has said he confused his stun gun with his handgun.
Burns is charged with felony murder in the June 2016 death of Deravis Caine Rogers, 22. Prosecutors say Burns was responding to a suspicious person call when the white Atlanta police officer fired shots into a car driven by Rogers, killing him. The Atlanta police chief fired Burns soon after the shooting, following an internal investigation that determined Burns used unnecessary and excessive force.
Heaggan-Brown, a black Milwaukee police officer, was acquitted in June 2017 of first-degree reckless homicide after shooting 23-year-old Sylville Smith during a foot chase in August 2016. Heaggan-Brown was fired after unrelated sexual-assault allegations surfaced. He later pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution.
Liang, a rookie police officer in New York City, was convicted of manslaughter in 2016 in the November 2014 death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley. Liang, an American of Chinese descent, said he was patrolling a public housing high-rise with his gun drawn when a sound startled him and he fired accidentally. A bullet ricocheted off a wall, hitting Gurley. A judge reduced the conviction to negligent homicide and sentenced Liang to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service.
Oliver was convicted of murder in the August 2017 death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Oliver, a white police officer in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs, fired into a car packed with black teenagers who were leaving a house party. Edwards was fatally shot. Oliver said he thought his partner was in danger as the car drove by. But his partner told jurors he didn’t fear for his life.
Pownall was charged with criminal homicide in September for the 2017 death of 30-year-old David Jones, who was shot in the back as he fled. A judge in October reduced the charges from first-degree to third-degree murder, which will not require prosecutors to prove the killing was premediated. Pownall, who is white, was fired from the Philadelphia police force last year after a grand jury’s recommendation said that Jones was not a threat at the time and that Pownall violated several policies including firing his weapon toward cars waiting at a traffic light.
Rosfeld, an officer with the East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is charged with criminal homicide in the June 19 shooting death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose Jr. after the teen fled from a traffic stop. The white officer was charged after investigators said his story about whether he saw or believed he saw a gun in Rose’s hand changed during his interview. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 26.
Shelby, a white Tulsa officer, was acquitted of manslaughter after shooting 40-year-old Terence Crutcher in September 2016. Crutcher was unarmed. Shelby resigned from the Tulsa Police Department and later went to work for a neighboring sheriff’s office.
Slager pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges after killing 50-year-old Walter Scott in 2015. The white North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer fired at Scott’s back from 17 feet (5 meters) away. Five of eight bullets hit him. Attorneys for Slager said he shot Scott in self-defense after the two fought and Scott grabbed Slager’s stun gun. Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December 2017. An appeal is pending.
Stockley, a white St. Louis police officer, was acquitted of murder on Sept. 15, 2017, in the 2011 shooting death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Stockley insisted he saw Smith, a drug suspect, holding a gun and felt he was in imminent danger. Prosecutors said the officer planted a gun in Smith’s car after the shooting.
Tensing, a white University of Cincinnati police officer, was tried twice for murder after killing Samuel DuBose, whom he pulled over for driving without a front license plate in 2015. DuBose was unarmed. The jury was hung both times, and the charges were dismissed. Tensing received $350,000 from the university when he agreed to resign.
Yanez, a Falcon Heights, Minnesota, police officer was charged with second-degree manslaughter and other counts after shooting 32-year-old Philando Castile in 2016. Yanez, who is Latino, was acquitted in June 2017.
For the AP’s complete coverage of the Jason Van Dyke case: https://apnews.com/tag/LaquanMcDonald