Those who serve as police officers are usually hailed as heroes who protect the lives and property of the residents in their local communities. While this is true most of the time, there have been far too many cases when officers have gone far beyond their duties and have inflicted harm on those whom they are called to serve. Even one case of police brutality against Arizona residents can erode trust in law enforcement.
Recently, a jury reached a verdict of guilty against an officer who was charged with manslaughter in the death of a stranded motorist. The jury also found the officer guilty of attempted murder when he shot the man whose vehicle had broken down along an exit ramp. The officer had been patrolling for suspects in connection with car burglaries. When he came upon the disabled vehicle, he claimed that he feared for his life and was forced to fire his weapon at the African-American male inside.
During the course of their deliberations, the jury requested permission to review several pieces of evidence, including audio recordings of the calls the motorist made to a towing company as well as the calls the officer made to 911 dispatchers. Afterward, the jury ruled that the officer's actions did not follow the definition required for a "Stand Your Ground" defense. A police spokesperson expressed disappointment in the jury's decision.
The former police officer could be ordered to serve between 25 years to life in prison on the attempted murder conviction at his sentencing next month. A spokesperson stated that the victim's family may finally have a sense of closure after this tragic and senseless death. When an Arizona resident has been a victim of police brutality, he or she may understandably be unsure of how to proceed. They are entitled to consult with an attorney who can assist them in seeking justice through the civil courts.