After deliberating for 11 hours, a jury in Oklahoma convicted a police captain on Tuesday of first-degree manslaughter in the death of an unarmed teenager. The teen was reportedly running away after a tussle with the officer, according to the Associated Press.
Del City Police Captain Randy Trent Harrison shot 18-year-old Dane Scott Jr. in the back on March 14, 2012 after a high-speed chase that ensued after Harrison tried to pull over Scott’s car. The two had a history: Harrison had tried to arrest Scott in drug violations before. Prosecutors argued that Harrison’s pursuit of Scott had gotten personal. The defense said that Scott was a drug dealer and Harrison thought the teen was reaching for a weapon when he shot him. (Harrison had already taken one gun from Scott during the scuffle that followed the car chase.)
The shooting occurred mere weeks after the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida, who was later acquitted. Prosecutors in the Oklahoma case never suggested that Harrison was influenced by racial bias. (Harrison is white, and Scott was black.) But defense attorneys suggested that charges were filed against Harrison in reaction to an incident in Tulsa where two white men were accused of fatally shooting three black people in what prosecutors said were racially-motivated attacks.