Society

Maryland Cop Shoots 'Unarmed' Suspect In Back (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A police body camera video (below) has surfaced of a cop shooting a suspect, who was reportedly unarmed, in the back in April in Laurel, Maryland.

Audrey Barnes, a spokesperson for the City of Laurel, said in April that police were responding to a burglar alarm at a food market, noted The Baltimore Sun.

The cops first encountered a teen, who allegedly did not obey commands, and was subsequently tased by police. As the cops kept searching the area, one officer opened a back door and was "startled, jumps back a little and his weapon discharges," according to Barnes.

At the time, the City of Laurel did not say if the officers were wearing body cameras, although at least one was.

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The body camera shows a police officer opening a door, looking inside, pulling his gun, but the body camera swings away during the actual gunshot, which is heard on the audio. The cop quickly moves toward the suspect, calls for an ambulance and tries to render aid.

Officials said in April that the shooting was "unintentional," but refused to identify the officer who was described as a 17-year veteran and firearms instructor.

Patrick Preller, a lawyer representing the 20-year-old suspect, Rashawn Curbeam, said in a statement to WUSA this week:

First, this was not a police justified shooting. Mr. Curbeam was unarmed, shot in the back and not posing a threat to the officer when he was shot down. We believe the video speaks for itself, and while we understand the Laurel Police Department deems this tragedy an accident, we disagree and believe the video shows otherwise...

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Deadly force was clearly not necessary in this instance, and even under the most generous interpretation of the officer's actions in this event, there is no possible interpretation under which the officer's actions were warranted or should be excused.

A grand jury refused to indict the cop, but Preller plans to ask a court to release a copy of the grand jury testimony.

"Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public and as such, we were not permitted to attend that hearing to see what evidence was presented against the officer," Preller told WUSA.

The City of Laurel would not comment to the news station about the video.

Curbeam, who has been charged with burglary, is expected in court in early December.

Sources: WUSA, The Baltimore Sun / Photo credit: Laurel, Maryland Police via YouTube

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