Cop who choked teen to death for throwing rock walks free after acquittal
By Yvette Carnell
On Thursday a jury acquitted a Baltimore County police officer in connection with the asphyxiation death of a teen he chased after a rock was thrown at the officer’s home.
The jury only deliberated three hours before finding James Laboard, who is Black, not guilty of manslaughter in the choking death of 17-year- old Christopher Brown.
Laboard was off duty at his home when he heard a loud noise, went outside, and found that his front door hat been hit with a rock. Laboard then chased a group of teenagers and caught Brown, who was hiding behind a bush.
A struggle ensued which ended with Laboard choking Brown to death. A medical examiner determined that Brown died of asphyxia.
Laboard’s attorney maintained that the officer did not intentionally kill Brown.
After the incident, it was determined that Brown did not throw the rock that led to his death.
After the verdict, Baltimore County police issued a statement saying that Laboard will return to paid status immediately. So the man who chased a teen and choked him to death will be back to patrolling the streets of Maryland soon.
Earlier this week, Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley, charged with manslaughter for gunning down 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a police raid, walked free after the jury failed to reach a decision.
Weekley maintained that his gun misfired after the 7-year-old’s grandmother grabbed his gun. However, the child’s grandmother testified that she was on the floor when police burst into the home and that she never touched Weekley’s gun.
In an article for The Nation titled Why Aiyana Jones Matters, Mychel Denzel Smith does a good job of reminding us why we should all care how this case ends:
If you want to know what’s going to happen to powerless people of any color in this country, watch what happens in Black America. If you don’t want it at your doorstep, show concern when it affects the least protected and most marginalized among us.