Tag Archives: manslaughter

Ex-officer pleads guilty to manslaughter as family blasts deal

The mother of a Black man fatally shot in the United States by a white former Nashville officer sobbed, screamed and knocked over a court lectern on Friday as she begged a judge not to accept a plea deal she says was struck in secret without her knowledge, a chaotic scene that briefly delayed a hearing.

Former officer Andrew Delke pleaded guilty to manslaughter and will serve a three-year prison sentence in the death of Daniel Hambrick, 25, in 2018 as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

As part of the agreement, Delke agreed not to pursue parole or appeal the case. However, Delke’s defence team said he will likely serve a year and a half in jail with standard credits.

Prosecuting police officers in the US is difficult because courts and juries tend to side with police. That may be changing. Prompted by widespread Black Lives Matter protests after the death of George Floyd in 2020, the US Congress is debating police reform proposals.

The hearing turned volatile as Hambrick’s mother, Vickie, gave a lengthy statement as family members and others applauded. Other supporters, outside the court in the hallway, banged on the door in support. Delke’s family sat on the other side of the courtroom with security guards.

“I hate you,” Vickie Hambrick screamed over and over again, while also yelling out profanities, directing some at Delke and prosecutors.

Andrew Delke listens to victim impact statements from the family of Daniel Hambrick as he pleads guilty to manslaughter as part of an agreement with prosecutors in Hambrick’s death in 2018 [Josie Norris/The Tennessean via AP]

In a chaotic moment, the mother knocked over the lectern and a computer monitor, and family members rushed to her side. Delke and Judge Monte Watkins were briefly ushered out of the court.

Delke, 27, was about to face trial for a first-degree murder charge, but his lawyer announced he had would plead guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter.

“I hope this case can contribute positively about the much-needed discussion about how police officers are trained and how we as a community want police officers to interact with citizens,” Delke said shortly after entering his plea.

His voice cracking at times, Delke apologised, saying he was “deeply sorry for the harm my actions caused”.

A group of roughly two dozen protesters gathered outside the court, chanting “no racist police” to show their opposition to Delke’s plea deal. Others wore shirts noting that police officers and white people receive lighter penalties for committing the same crimes as Black and brown people.

Hambrick’s family said they were not contacted or consulted and did not know about the plea deal until after it was done.

“I have contempt for this system. I have contempt for this plea. I have contempt for the [Fraternal Order of Police]. And I have a special contempt for Andrew Delke. May you all rot in hell,” said lawyer Joy Kimbrough, who read the statement of Vickie Hambrick as she wept behind her.

District Attorney Glenn Funk told reporters afterwards that he informed Hambrick’s family lawyer of the deal on Wednesday and spoke to Vickie Hambrick on Thursday. He said he has been in contact with them for three years, and knew Vickie Hambrick wanted Delke to be convicted of murder and sentenced to prison for life.

Vickie Hambrick enters the court where Andrew Delke pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing her son Daniel Hambrick in Nashville, Tennessee [Josie Norris/The Tennessean via AP]

In accepting the plea agreement, Funk said he made the decision in the best interest of the state of Tennessee. There was a “very large percentage” chance that the case would have ended in a hung jury, Funk said, which he said would have meant the emotion seen in the court on Friday “would have been played out one-hundred-fold”.

Funk called it “significant progress” that “tonight will be the first night Nashville has had a police officer in jail for shooting a Black man on duty”.

Prosecutors focused on surveillance footage that captured the shooting, in which Delke stops chasing and shoots the fleeing man.

Nashville’s Metro Council has approved a $ 2.25m settlement to resolve a civil lawsuit by Hambrick’s family.

For Vickie Hambrick, who is legally blind, the loss of her only child will forever haunt her.

“My son was my eyes,” Kimbrough said, reading Vickie Hambrick’s statement. “Since he’s been gone, things have not been the same and they never will be.”

Author:
Read more here >>> Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Derek Chauvin verdict: Jury finds ex-cop guilty of murder, manslaughter in George Floyd’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — After three weeks of testimony, the trial of the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd ended swiftly: barely over a day of jury deliberations, then just minutes for the verdicts to be read – guilty, guilty and guilty – and Derek Chauvin was handcuffed and taken away to prison.

Chauvin, 45, could be sent to prison for decades when he is sentenced in about two months in a case that triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.

VIDEO: Judge reads guilty verdicts in Derek Chauvin case | Click here for more about the charges

The verdict set off jubilation mixed with sorrow across the city and around the nation. Hundreds of people poured into the streets of Minneapolis, some running through traffic with banners. Drivers blared their horns in celebration.

“Today, we are able to breathe again,” Floyd’s younger brother Philonise said at a joyous family news conference where tears streamed down his face as he likened Floyd to the 1955 Mississippi lynching victim Emmett Till, except that this time there were cameras around to show the world what happened.

The jury of six whites and six Black or multiracial people came back with its verdict after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days. The now-fired white officer was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin’s face was obscured by a COVID-19 mask, and little reaction could be seen beyond his eyes darting around the courtroom. His bail was immediately revoked. Sentencing will be in two months; the most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson followed Chauvin out of the courtroom without comment.

VIDEO: Biden, Harris react to Chauvin verdict

President Joe Biden welcomed the verdict, saying Floyd’s death was “a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world” to see systemic racism.

But he warned: “It’s not enough. We can’t stop here. We’re going to deliver real change and reform. We can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen again.”

The jury’s decision was hailed around the country as justice by other political and civic leaders and celebrities, including former President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a white man, who said on Twitter that Floyd “would still be alive if he looked like me. That must change.”

At a park next to the Minneapolis courthouse, a hush fell over a crowd of about 300 as they listened to the verdict on their cellphones. Then a great roar went up, with many people hugging, some shedding tears.

At the intersection where Floyd was pinned down, a crowd chanted, “One down, three to go!” – a reference to the three other fired Minneapolis officers facing trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

Janay Henry, who lives nearby, said she felt grateful and relieved.

“I feel grounded. I can feel my feet on the concrete,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to the “next case with joy and optimism and strength.”

VIDEO: George Floyd’s family watches verdict in Houston

Jamee Haggard, who brought her biracial 4-year-old daughter to the intersection, said: “There’s some form of justice that’s coming.”

The verdict was read in a courthouse ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire and patrolled by National Guard troops, in a city on edge against another round of unrest – not just because of the Chauvin case but because of the deadly police shooting of a young Black man, Daunte Wright, in a Minneapolis suburb April 11.

The jurors’ identities were kept secret and will not be released until the judge decides it is safe to do so.

It is unusual for police officers to be prosecuted for killing someone on the job. And convictions are extraordinarily rare.

Out of the thousands of deadly police shootings in the U.S. since 2005, fewer than 140 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter, according to data maintained by Phil Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University. Before Tuesday, only seven were convicted of murder.

Juries often give police officers the benefit of the doubt when they claim they had to make split-second, life-or-death decisions. But that was not an argument Chauvin could easily make.

Floyd, 46, died May 25 after being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $ 20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a corner market. He panicked, pleaded that he was claustrophobic and struggled with police when they tried to put him in a squad car. They put him on the ground instead.

VIDEO: Judge explains charges against Chauvin

The centerpiece of the case was the excruciating bystander video of Floyd gasping repeatedly, “I can’t breathe” and onlookers yelling at Chauvin to stop as the officer pressed his knee on or close to Floyd’s neck for what authorities say was 9 1/2 minutes, including several minutes after Floyd’s breathing had stopped and he had no pulse.

Prosecutors played the footage at the earliest opportunity, during opening statements, and told the jury: “Believe your eyes.” From there it was shown over and over, analyzed one frame at a time by witnesses on both sides.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, demonstrations and scattered violence broke out in Minneapolis, around the country and beyond. The furor also led to the removal of Confederate statues and other offensive symbols such as Aunt Jemima.

In the months that followed, numerous states and cities restricted the use of force by police, revamped disciplinary systems or subjected police departments to closer oversight.

The “Blue Wall of Silence” that often protects police accused of wrongdoing crumbled after Floyd’s death. The Minneapolis police chief quickly called it “murder” and fired all four officers, and the city reached a staggering $ 27 million settlement with Floyd’s family as jury selection was underway.

VIDEO: Closing, opening arguments in Chauvin trial

Police-procedure experts and law enforcement veterans inside and outside the Minneapolis department, including the chief, testified for the prosecution that Chauvin used excessive force and went against his training.

Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died of asphyxia, or lack of oxygen, because his breathing was constricted by the way he was held down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him, a knee on his neck and his face jammed against the ground.

Chauvin’s attorney called a police use-of-force expert and a forensic pathologist to try to make the case that Chauvin acted reasonably against a struggling suspect and that Floyd died because of a heart condition and his illegal drug use. Floyd had high blood pressure and narrowed arteries, and fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in his system.

Under the law, police have certain leeway to use force and are judged according to whether their actions were “reasonable” under the circumstances.

WATCH: Derek Chauvin invokes 5th amendment, declining option to testify

The defense also tried to make the case that Chauvin and the other officers were hindered in their duties by what they perceived as a growing, hostile crowd.

Chauvin did not testify, and all that the jury or the public ever heard by way of an explanation from him came from a police body-camera video after an ambulance had taken the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd away. Chauvin told a bystander: “We gotta control this guy ’cause he’s a sizable guy … and it looks like he’s probably on something.”

The prosecution’s case also included tearful testimony from onlookers who said the police kept them back when they protested what was happening.

Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier, who shot the crucial video, said Chauvin gave the bystanders a “cold” and “heartless” stare. She and others said they felt a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt from witnessing Floyd’s slow-motion death.

“It’s been nights I stayed up, apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” she testified.

___

Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan. Associated Press video journalist Angie Wang in Atlanta and writers Doug Glass, Stephen Groves, Aaron Morrison, Tim Sullivan and Michael Tarm in Minneapolis; Mohamed Ibrahim in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota; and Todd Richmond in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author AP

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

Daunte Wright shooting: Former officer Kim Potter to be charged with second-degree manslaughter

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A prosecutor said Wednesday that he will charge a white former suburban Minneapolis police officer with second-degree manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright in a shooting that ignited days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police.The charge against former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter will be filed Wednesday, three days after Wright was killed during a traffic stop and as the nearby murder trial progresses for the ex-officer charged with killing George Floyd last May, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said.

The former Brooklyn Center police chief has said that Potter, a 26-year veteran and training officer, intended to use her Taser on Wright but fired her handgun instead. However, protesters and Wright’s family members say there’s no excuse for the shooting and it shows how the justice system is tilted against Blacks, noting Wright was stopped for expired car registration and ended up dead.MORE: Here’s what we know about Kim Potter, the officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright

Intent isn’t a necessary component of second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota. The charge – which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison – can be applied in circumstances where a person is suspected of causing a death by “culpable negligence” that creates an unreasonable risk or consciously takes chances to cause the death of a person.

Asked how he arrived at the charging decision, Orput said: “I think it’ll be evident when you read the complaint,” which was not yet available.

Potter, 48, was arrested Wednesday morning at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul. Her attorney did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

She was released from jail Wednesday evening after posting $ 100,000 bail.

Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon both resigned Tuesday.

SEE ALSO: How does an officer use a gun instead of a Taser?

Concrete barricades and tall metal fencing had been set up around Potter’s home in Champlin, north of Brooklyn Center, with police cars guarding the driveway. After Floyd’s death last year, protesters demonstrated several times at the home of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer now on trial in Floyd’s death.

Police say Wright was pulled over for expired tags on Sunday, but they sought to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant. The warrant was for his failure to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June.

Body camera video that Gannon released Monday shows Potter approaching Wright as he stands outside of his car as another officer is arresting him.

As Wright struggles with police, Potter shouts, “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing a single shot from her handgun.Wright family attorney Ben Crump said the family appreciates the criminal case, but he again disputed that the shooting was accidental, arguing that an experienced officer knows the difference between a Taser and a handgun.

“Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant,” he said.

Experts say cases of officers mistakenly firing their gun instead of a Taser are rare, usually less than once a year nationwide.

SEE ALSO: Daunte Wright called his mother right before he was shot. This is what he said

Transit officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison after responding to a fight at a train station in Oakland, California, killing 22-year-old Oscar Grant in 2009. Mehserle testified at trial that he mistakenly pulled his .40-caliber handgun instead of his stun gun.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a white volunteer sheriff’s deputy, Robert Bates, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter after accidentally firing his handgun when he meant to deploy his stun gun on Eric Harris, a Black man who was being held down by other officers in 2015.

Potter was an instructor with the Brooklyn Center police, according to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. She was training two other officers when they stopped Wright, the association’s leader, Brian Peters, told the Star Tribune.

In her one-paragraph letter of resignation, Potter said, “I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

MORE: Family of George Floyd vows to fight alongside Daunte Wright’s family

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said Tuesday that he hoped Potter’s resignation would “bring some calm to the community,” but that he would keep working toward “full accountability under the law.”Police and protesters faced off again after nightfall Tuesday, with hundreds of demonstrators once more gathering at Brooklyn Center’s heavily guarded police headquarters, now ringed by concrete barriers and a tall metal fence, and where police in riot gear and National Guard soldiers stood watch.

About 90 minutes before a 10 p.m. curfew, state police announced over a loudspeaker that the gathering had been declared unlawful and ordered the crowds to disperse. That set off confrontations, with protesters launching fireworks toward the station and throwing objects at officers, who launched flashbangs and gas grenades, then marched in a line to force back the crowd.

State police said the dispersal order came before the curfew because protesters were trying to take down the fencing and throwing rocks at police. The number of protesters plummeted over the next hour, until only a few remained. Police also ordered all media to leave.

Brooklyn Center, a suburb just north of Minneapolis, has seen its racial demographics shift dramatically in recent years. In 2000, more than 70% of the city was white. Today, a majority of residents are Black, Asian or Hispanic.

Elliott said Tuesday that he didn’t have at hand information on the police force’s racial diversity but that “we have very few people of color in our department.”

___

Bauer contributed from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writers Doug Glass and Mohamed Ibrahim in Minneapolis; Tim Sullivan in Brooklyn Center; and Stephen Groves in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, contributed to this report.

___

This story has been updated to correct the name of the leader of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association to Brian Peters, instead of Bill Peters.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

AP

This article originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

LIVE: INDICTED: Former Williamson County deputies charged with manslaughter in death of Javier Ambler

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two former Williamson County deputies have been charged with second degree manslaughter in the in-custody death of Javier Ambler in March 2019[1].

On Tuesday, a Travis County grand jury charged former deputies James Johnson and Zachary Camden, who were present at the time of Ambler’s death — which was captured on camera during a filming of crime reality show “Live P.D.[2],” which Williamson County Sheriff’s Office previously appeared on.

Johnson and Camden’s bail is set at $ 150,000 and the court has prohibited them from working with law enforcement agencies or security companies.

“With these indictments, we have taken another critical step towards justice for the Ambler family and for our community,” said Travis County DA Jose Garza. “While we can never take away the pain of the Ambler family, the grand jury has sent a clear message that no one is above the law.”

Garza will hold a press briefing on Tuesday at 2:30 pm., which will be streamed in this story, at KXAN.com[4], on the official KXAN News Facebook[5] page and in the KXAN app.

Back in October, Ambler’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, accusing Johnson and Camden of killing Ambler as he begged “I can’t breathe,” during the arrest. The incident began after the two deputies chased Ambler for over 20 minutes after he reportedly failed to dim his headlights.

Calls for justice in Ambler’s death heightened over the past year as national protests, rallies and calls for racial justice in law enforcement, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis[6].

KXAN will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

References

  1. ^ Javier Ambler in March 2019 (www.kxan.com)
  2. ^ Live P.D. (www.kxan.com)
  3. ^ Lawsuit alleges Williamson County deputies ‘killed’ Javier Ambler (www.kxan.com)
  4. ^ KXAN.com (www.kxan.com)
  5. ^ KXAN News Facebook (www.facebook.com)
  6. ^ death of George Floyd in Minneapolis (www.kxan.com)

Russell Falcon