Category Archives: Trial Videos
On July 31, 2017, we began following the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, for killing Anthony Lamar Smith. You can read it at this link. The media provided bits and pieces of what happened at trial because the judge did not allow any cameras nor electronic devices in the courtroom.
This case was controversial for several reasons, but the main reason was because Stockley appeared to have planted a gun in Smith’s car. Stockley’s DNA was found on the gun, but not Smith’s DNA.
Stockley opted for a bench trial. Only the judge decides. There is no jury. Trial ended on August 9, 2017. Judge Timothy J. Wilson stated that he would not have a decision entered until after August 18, 2017. The month of August came and went, and there was no decision. Then came reports that St. Louis was preparing to keep the peace because of potential protests and violence if the judge acquitted Stockley. That was the first indication what the judge’s decision would be.
This morning, Judge Wilson entered a 30 page decision that you can read at this link. He entered a ruling of not guilty of first degree murder and not guilty of armed criminal action, saying that the state failed to meet its burden of proof. The judge’s decision sounds as if he would have decided guilty for involuntary manslaughter had the state sought those charges.
This is the decision of the court. The United States does not allow prosecutors to appeal unfavorable decisions. They get one chance only.
Oddly enough, had Anthony Lamar Smith been a defendant and the judge found him guilty and wrote the following in his decision, Anthony might have a good basis to appeal. It’s a statement as to whether Anthony was or wasn’t armed. Judge Wilson wrote on page 26;
“Finally, the Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.”
The verdict is unprecedented. Marco Proano has been convicted in federal court on criminal charges from an on-duty shooting. Proano was convicted of two felony counts of using excessive force, violating the victims’ civil rights. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count. His sentencing is scheduled for November 20, 2017. Proano’s victims survived, and it has taken almost 4 years for this day to arrive.
On December 22, 2013, Proano spotted a stolen car that was filled with teens on Chicago’s Southside. One of the teens exited the vehicle and ran. Another attempted to get out but the door would not open because a cop cruiser had pulled up on the side. Yet another teen in the backseat, reached over to the front driver’s side and with his hands, pressed on the gas.
Proano opened fire, and continued shooting even after the stolen car ran into a light pole and stopped. Two of the teens were wounded.
There is dash cam video, but there was also some controversy to make it public,as reported in the below video by Roland Martin. During a civil case filed by the teens, the court sealed the video. It took a news publication to get the video to make it public. A lawsuit brought by the two wounded teens was settled by the City of Chicago for $360,000.
Proano’s trial began on August 21, 2017 in U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman’s courtroom. On August 28, 2017, the jury deliberated 4 hours and returned the verdict of guilty on both counts. Read the rest of this entry
In the comment section of this blog on the post written by towerflower titled We Want His Badge, we discussed the shooting of Levar Jones in Columbia, South Carolina on September 4, 2014.
On September 4, 2014, State Trooper Sean Groubert pulled into a gas station behind Levar Jones for a seat-belt violation. He asked Levar for his license. Levar reached into his vehicle to get his license and Groubert shot him 4 times.
Sean Groubert was terminated from his job, and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. The judge issued a $75,000 cash bond. Groubert remained in jail and in March 2016, he plead guilty.
The State reports that Groubert’s defense attorneys said that Groubert developed PTSD after an August 2012 car chase and shootout with a suspect. The disorder, which they say went undiagnosed, contributed to Groubert overreacting and shooting Levar Jones during the traffic stop in September 2014.
At his sentencing, prosecutors argued that while in jail, Groubert complained that black people in South Carolina “had a chip on their shoulder.” Read the rest of this entry
On December 20, 2011, 24-year old Anthony Lamar Smith was pulled over by St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley on suspicion of making a drug deal. Anthony took off in a rented Buick. Against policy, Stockley shot at the fleeing car. Dash cam video shows that Anthony slowed down. Stockley called for another officer to “hit” the car driven by Anthony, and that officer, Brian Bianchi, did just that.
Footage from three recordings obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shows Stockley walking to Anthony’s rented Buick. One recording was from a cell phone, and at least one other was from a store’s surveillance camera.
The impact of being hit by the police SUV resulted in the Buick’s side curtain air bags engaging, blocking part of the view from the dashboard’s camera. Bianchi is seen reaching into the Buick with his gun still in its holster. Stockley is seen with an AK=47, and his head is bobbing up and down as if he was lifting the curtain as well.
Stockley shot 5 times. Officer Bianchi suddenly backed away as if he was not expecting the gunshots.
Stockley is seen taking his personal AK-47 back to his SUV and putting it into the backseat. Stockley then returned to the Buick that was driven by Anthony. St. Louis Today reports that according to officials, Stockley was not authorized to carry the rifle, which he personally owned.
Inside dashcam recorded Stockley going into a duffle bag in the back seat, and subsequently leave the SUV with nothing in his hands. Read the rest of this entry
The New York Times Reports:
After two mistrials, Prosecutor, Joseph T. Deters, said his decision to drop the charges against Ray Tensing is because he spoke to the jurors. Those jurors told him that a unanimous conviction was not possible. Federal prosecutors will now review the evidence to consider whether a civil rights investigation is warranted.
For other posts on this case, please see;
Ray Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati police officer who fatally shot 43-year-old Sam DuBose in July 15, 2015, first went to trial for voluntary manslaughter and murder in 2016. That jury hung. We followed that trial and you can read it here and here.
Tensing’s retrial began June 8, 2017. The jury deliberated for more than 25 hours. Today, the judge declared a mistrial.
Joe Deters, Hamilton County Prosecutor, said he will not comment until next week.
Jurors had questions during deliberations. I am looking for those questions and if I locate them, I’ll post them in the comment section.
The DuBose family said in a statement through an attorney, “We are outraged that a second jury has now failed to convict Ray Tensing for the murder of our beloved Sam DuBose.” The family is demanding another retrial, the statement said. Read the rest of this entry
Dominique Heaggan-Brown (25 years old) is a former Milwaukee police officer. He shot and killed 23-year old Sylville Smith in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood on August 13, 2016. On December 15, 2016, Heaggan-Brown was charged with one count of first-degree reckless homicide. If convicted, he can be sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison.
At the time of the shooting, Sylville was armed with a semi-automatic pistol. Heaggan-Brown and his partner wore body cameras which show that Sylville threw the gun over a fence into a yard. Heaggan-Brown shot Sylville, who fell to the ground on his back and had his hands near his head. Heaggan-Brown then shot Syville again, center mass. At the time he fired the second and fatal shot, Sylville was unarmed.
In his interview, Heaggan-Brown said that he fired once at which time he observed the pistol fly out of Smith’s hands and over the fence into the backyard of the residence. Smith then fell to the ground and Heaggan-Brown believed he was reaching for his waist so he discharged his weapon a second time. At no time after the shooting did Heaggan-Brown or any other officer search Smith for a second firearm. Read the rest of this entry
After approximately 29 hours of deliberations, the jury in the manslaughter case of St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez has returned a verdict of not guilty. Yanez was also charged with two felony counts of intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety for firing his weapon. When he shot and killed Philando Castile, Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year old daughter were passengers in the car. Bullets barely missed both of them.
During deliberations, the jury requested to review the transcript of Yanez’s interview with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Judge William H. Leery III denied their request. By Wednesday, the jury was deadlocked, but the judge sent them back to keep deliberating.
Kare11 reports that this morning, the jury handed a note to Judge Leary III requesting to have the transcript of Yanez’s testimony while on the stand and the cross examination read aloud in court. The judge denied their request.
We followed the trial at this link.
If there are press conferences filmed later where the videos are on Youtube so they can be embedded here, I will post them in the comment section.
Ray Tensing is a former University of Cincinnati officer who shot and killed Samuel Dubose during a traffic stop in 2015. A mistrial was declared on November 12, 2016. The straw poll by jurors was unanimous for murder. After 25 hours of deliberation however, four jurors were ready to convict Tensing of murder, four were ready to convict him of voluntary manslaughter and four were ready to find him not guilty. The jury consisted of 2 Black women, 4 White women and 6 White men.
The trial was covered on this blog.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said that how jurors went from unanimously agreeing on a murder conviction in their straw poll to being unable to reach a verdict on any charge is unclear. He talked to the jurors and said that he learned a lot.
On November 28, 2016, Deter announced that he was retrying Tensing on the charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter.
The jury for Tensing’s retrial has now been seated. It consists of 7 White women, 2 White men, 1 Black man and 2 Black women.
Opening statements are anticipated for this morning. The trial is being live streamed at this link. I’ll update in the comment section below.
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, when he was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer. Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were passengers. Diamond live-streamed Philando’s dying moments and the aftermath on Facebook. The officer shot 7 times, hitting Philando Castile 5 times, twice in the heart.
Yanez’s attorney, Thomas Kelly, said Yanez stopped Castile because he matched the description of a suspect in a robbery a few days earlier. (Castile was found to not be connected to the robbery.)
Today, prosecutor Dusterhoft told the jury;
“What he could see were dreadlocks, eyeglasses and the fact that Mr. Castile was a black man,” Dusterhoft said. “Based on that glimpse” he stopped the car in Falcon Heights.”
Jeronimo Yanez has been charged with three felony counts; second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
On June 5, 2017, a jury was seated and opening statements were made. The jury consists of 9 men and 6 women which includes 3 alternates. There is one Black man and one Black woman on the jury.
Michael Tyree was 31-years old when he died on August 26, 2015. He was bi-polar and was arrested for misdemeanor theft and drug possession. Tyree was jailed in a section of the Santa Clara County Correctional facility that is reserved for inmates with special needs. There, he was beaten with the coroner finding the cause of death as internal bleeding due to blunt force trauma. There were lacerations to Michael’s liver and spleen, which was nearly severed in half. Michael was found in his cell naked and covered in vomit and feces.
Three guards, Matthew Farris, Jereh Lubrin and Rafael Rodriguez, were charged with second degree murder. Jereh Lubrin was also charged with assault under color of authority and the three guards were charged with assault under color of authority for allegedly beating inmate Juan Villa. Read the rest of this entry
Opening statements were made today in the trial of police officer Betty Shelby, accused of fatally shooting Terence Crutcher on September 16, 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Shelby is charged with manslaughter and faces four years to life in prison if convicted.
The jury consists of two black women, seven white women and three white men. The alternates are one black man and one white woman.
Shelby, 43, shot and killed Crutcher, 40, after approaching him on the street after his car broke down. Video shows him walking away from her with his hands up.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s office claims Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation with Mr. Crutcher, who was not responding to verbal commands and was walking away from her with his hands help up, becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted.”
Shelby’s defense attorney Shannon McMurray told the jury it was a rush to file charges.
Shelby has been on unpaid leave since the shooting, and said that she fired her weapon because she thought Crutcher was going for a gun.
The prosecution’s first witness was Tulsa police officer Tyler Turnbough. He described coming to the scene and said that he saw Shelby had drawn her gun, so he drew his Taser in order to offer up a less-lethal option. Turnbough testified that he told Shelby he had drawn his Taser, but Turnbough said he wasn’t sure if Shelby acknowledged that she heard him.
Turnbough said he saw Crutcher reach his left hand into the window of his Lincoln Navigator, which prompted him to fire his taser at the exact moment Shelby fired her gun.
Trial is expected to take about a week. News on 6 has notes from the opening statements. I’ll do my best to update the trial in the comment section below.
Just a quick note to update. The introduction to the video says:
Dylann Storm Roof who shot and killed nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston church in 2015, pleaded guilty Monday to state charges stemming from the massacre as part of a deal with prosecutors to spend the rest of his life in prison to avoid a second death-penalty trial.
Roof already had been sentenced to die earlier this year for his convictions in federal court on hate crimes charges, though the state could have pursued a second such penalty in its murder case against the young man.
Roof was charged both federally and at the state level after the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, when nine black parishioners were shot and killed down during an evening Bible study.
The federal death sentence still stands!
After impact statements and Roof’s grandad speaking on Roof’s behalf, the Judge sentenced Roof to 9 life sentences on state charges.
A jury of 12 and 2 alternates have heard opening statements and is hearing testimony in the trial of Derrick Stafford. The trial is taking place in Marksville, Louisiana. Stafford, along with his partner Norris Greenhouse, Jr. are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2, 2015 shooting death of 6-year old Jeremy Mardis. Jeremy was the in the vehicle with his dad, Christopher Few, who was wounded when Stafford and his Greenhouse, Jr. opened fire.
Greenhouse, Jr. is scheduled for a separate trial later this year.
“Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father had his hands raised inside his vehicle when the officers fired their semiautomatic pistols. At least four of their 18 shots ripped into the child’s body while he was strapped into the front seat.
Relatives of the victims wept as jurors watched the graphic video from the shooting. Several jurors were also seen wiping away tears.”
Stafford and Greenhouse stated that they opened fire on Few because he tried ramming his car into them. A state police detective has testified there isn’t any physical evidence that Few’s car collided with Greenhouse’s vehicle.
Ballistics evidence shows none of the 18 shots fired by the two deputies hit the front or back of Few’s car. The prosecution is using that as evident that neither deputy was in danger. “Cars don’t move sideways,” the prosecutor said.
Hat tip to Yahtzeebutterfly for keeping up with this case.
Florida’s controversial stand your ground law came upfront when 17-year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012. The law allows people to use deadly force when they fear death or great bodily harm. Stand your ground, if granted, gives the defendant immunity from being placed on trial for the results of using deadly force. If the person who used deadly force was the initiator, they might not qualify for immunity under stand your ground.
That is part of the controversy with stand your ground law. It depends on perception, and when the person is dead, they cannot testify of their perception.
You might have heard of the “popcorn murder.” It is the Reeves’ case. In January 2014, 71-year old Curtis Reeves shot Chad Oulson (43) to death in a movie theater over texting. Reeves also wounded Oulson’s wife. Reeves is charged with second degree murder and he claims self-defense, alleging that Chad hit him with something so hard that it knocked his glasses off his face. Read the rest of this entry
In December 2016, we followed the trials of Michael Slager and Dylann Roof. There was also another trial.
In August 2012, Officer Patrick Tuter of Garland, Texas led a vehicle chase of unarmed 25 year old Michael Allen. Tuter fired at Michael 41 times, reloading several times and hitting Michael 3 times. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Officer performed the autopsy and determined that Michael suffered gunshot wounds to his upper back, side, and left elbow.
Tuter’s official report was that he opened fired after Michael rammed a patrol car. The dashboard video however, showed that it was Tuter’s patrol car that rammed into Michael’s truck. Tuter fired his gun from the back, left-side of Michael’s truck.
Michael Allen’s body was pulled out of the cab of his truck by a K9 who chewed his face.
In March 2013, Tuter was fired for violating department policies on pursuits and use of force. He had been on the force 7 years.
The jury began their deliberations early this afternoon. It did not take them long to decide that Dylann Roof, the murderer of nine people, receive the death penalty.
At closing argument, Roof reminded the jury that its decision must be unanimous. Apparently, he was looking to impress upon just one juror not to sentence him to death.
Also during his closing argument, Roof told the jury, “I still feel like I had to do it.”
It is reported that every member of the jury looked directly at Roof as he spoke for about 5 minutes.
The prosecutor’s closing argument included;
“They welcomed a 13th person that night … with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair,” Richardson said during his closing argument. “He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45.”
On December 15, 2016, a jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges. This blog followed the trial.
The same jury panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks reconvened today to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Originally scheduled to begin on January 3, 2017, Dylann Roof asked that his sentencing trial be delayed for a day. His reason was because he spent the weekend undergoing a competency evaluation. Federal District Court Judge Gergel has now, twice, found Roof competent to represent himself.
Roof’s competency took focus in his opening statement today when he told the jury;
“The point is I’m not going to lie to you,” Roof said. “There’s nothing wrong with me psychologically.”
Roof also made a statement that he felt betrayed. Coupled with things that he wrote in his journal, it paints the idea that Roof’s desire to murder Blacks was influenced by other White Supremacists who he assumed would do the same. Read the rest of this entry
I have a bit more confidence of the federal trial because they are going to argue the charge of lying to investigators. Once Slager’s lie is proven, the verdict of guilty should come easy. But, we know that all jurors don’t “see” the same. The month of May cannot come soon enough.
On August 18, 2015, East Point, Georgia police officers Cpl. Howard Weems and Sgt. Marcus Eberhart were indicted on charges related to the April 11, 2014 death of 24-year old Gregory Towns. Eberhart resigned and Weems was terminated after the incident. Their trial began on December 5, 2016.
On April 11, 2014, Weems and Eberhart responded to a domestic violence call in the Atlanta suburb. Another officer was also present. Gregory Towns ran and was apprehended. According to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, after apprehending Gregory,the officers handcuffed him. They demanded him to stand and walk to a waiting patrol car. Gregory indicated that he was out of breath and could not stand. Both officers used their tasers on Gregory, and even after attempting to walk but collapsing, the officers continued to tase him.
Gregory was tased 13-14 times. Read the rest of this entry