Skip to main content

World Judge considers release of video showing officer shooting unarmed man

This undated photo provided by The Slusser Law Firm shows David Kassick.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

A decision about whether prosecutors can make public a video that authorities have said shows a Pennsylvania police officer fatally shooting an unarmed man in the back is in the hands of a county judge after a brief hearing Tuesday.

Dauphin County Judge Deborah Curcillo did not indicate when she would rule on an effort by the lawyer for Hummelstown Police Officer Lisa Mearkle to prevent the video's release.

Defence attorney Brian Perry argued the video was likely to affect potential jurors and would present a partial and misleading impression of the events that caused the death of 59-year-old motorist David Kassick in early February.

Story continues below advertisement

The case has parallels to the fatal shooting of South Carolina motorist Walter Scott earlier this month.

In that incident, which began as a traffic stop for a broken tail light, a witness captured video of the white officer firing eight times as Scott, a black man, ran. While race has been raised as a possible issue in the South Carolina shooting, in the Pennslvania case both the officer and the unarmed man were white.

Mearkle, 36, waived a preliminary hearing on Monday on a charge of criminal homicide, so prosecutors had no opportunity to play the recording in court. Perry said that it has not been admitted as a part of the official record.

"It's got to be admitted," Perry said Tuesday. "It wasn't admitted."

Police said Mearkle attempted to stop Kassick's vehicle for expired inspection and emissions stickers on February 2, after which he drove away, reaching high speeds. When he did stop he got out and ran, and Mearkle was able to catch up to him.

She shocked him four times with a stun gun, equipped with a video camera, before shooting him twice in the back, four seconds apart, as he lay face down. Perry argues she acted in self-defence, concerned he was reaching into his waist while she demanded he show his hands.

Dauphin County prosecutor Johnny Baer told the judge on Tuesday his office was not advocating for the video's release but also was not opposed to it. The Associated Press and other news outlets have requested the video.

Story continues below advertisement

Mearkle, who attended the court proceeding on Tuesday, is free on bail but is under electronic monitoring. She has been suspended without pay.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter