A Pennsylvania police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man in February was found not guilty by a jury on Friday.
A video of the incident was captured on camera (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO).
— WPMT FOX43 (@fox43) November 5, 2015
Officer Lisa Mearkle, a veteran of the Hummelstown Police Department, was accused of third-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Kassick, the man in the video. The shooting was caught on video and played at her trial.
Trial of Hummelstown officer Lisa Mearkle on recess. Jury sees last minutes of David Kassick’s life pic.twitter.com/aVIo5HqQJ4
— Donna Kirker Morgan (@KirkerDonna) November 3, 2015
“I never wanted to shoot anybody,” Mearkle, 37, said as she left the courthouse, according to reports.
“I wish he was here right now. I wish he didn’t do this,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to shoot him, but he made me.”
Mearkle testified that Kassick’s left hand was out of view and he didn’t comply with her orders to show both of them. She thought he was reaching into his coat for a gun before she opened fire.
Juror Matt Light told Pennlive.com after the trial: “It was just a case of, ‘Was it believable that she felt she was in danger.'”
Mearkle also made comments to Kassick’s family.
“I truly wish it didn’t happen. I want them to know that. I didn’t want to shoot anybody,” she told NBC News.
— Guardian video (@guardianvideo) November 5, 2015
Mearkle’s lawyer, Brian Perry, said that in the video, Kassick’s actions had to be watched carefully.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s tragic, nobody is celebrating death, but we think the jury reached the right verdict,” Perry said.
The encounter started after she tried to pull Kassick’s vehicle over after noticing an expired inspection sticker on his car. Kassick then went to his sister’s home and ran to the backyard.
Mearkle caught up to him and then was convinced he had a gun in his jacket.
It’s unclear why Kassick fled the traffic stop, but investigators found a syringe by his body. Prosecutors said he had alcohol and drugs in his system.