Six seconds after the police officer arrived at the scene, he is said to have fired. His target: an unarmed black man. According to media reports, he sat dazed on the sidewalk after ramming a car during a chase. The 25-year-old died the next day.
Months later, the officer was released from the Philadelphia Police Department. The charges came in 2020, three years after the fatal shooting. In September of this year, the 34-year-old was finally found guilty of manslaughter. According to the US news agency AP, the public prosecutor's office had demanded 20 years in prison. Instead, he received a prison sentence of eleven and a half to a maximum of 23 months on Thursday.
The reason given by the responsible judge was that the ex-policeman had behaved well since his indictment - a longer period behind bars would have no effect on his rehabilitation. "Nothing he will do in prison will make him a better person," AP quoted the judge as saying. In addition, the reduced prison sentence could also be suspended on probation. A fine is also not provided. District Attorney Larry Krasner said convictions on identical charges have averaged five and a half to 11 years in prison since he took office in 2018, according to the local newspaper The Philadelphia Inquirer. "This verdict falls far short of state guidelines," Krasner said.
"I wasn't surprised, but I was disappointed," the slain man's widow told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the verdict was announced. "Who wastes five years of court hearings and then hears from 11 to 23 months?" She feels from the Judiciary fobbed off, said the widow.
The accused declared in court that he feared for his life and that was the only reason he shot. The 25-year-old, the former officer continued, kept his right hand in his pocket despite being asked to do so. Prosecutors, the AP reports, countered that that was no justification — after all, the other cops ducked for cover — without firing a shot.
The jury, the defense attorney said, should take into account the previous two-minute chase. In addition, the police assumed at the time that the victim's car was connected to a murder. However, this later turned out to be a mistake. The jury denied a charge of third-degree murder.
The dead man's widow received $1.2 million in compensation from the city of Philadelphia. The deceased leaves behind two children and three stepchildren, according to the deputy prosecutor. The prosecution now has 30 days to appeal the verdict.
Quellen: "Associated Press"; "Philadelphia Inquirer"