Once again, the mother of a black teenage boy is crying that there won’t be justice for her dead son. This time, it’s because prosecutors have dropped charges against the white Little Rock, Ark., police officer who was set to go on trial next month on charges he shot and killed 15-year-old Bobby Moore III two years ago. The state first brought charges after a police investigation showed that the officer’s story didn’t match the evidence at the scene of the shooting and that the use of deadly force was not justified.
Now prosecutors say that even though they still believe the officer is guilty of a homicide, it’s apparent that a jury would never convict the officer. How can they be so sure? Because they’ve tried the case twice already. Both trials ended in hung juries. In the first, an all-white jury voted 10-2 for a conviction. In the second, a jury that included two African Americans voted 11-1 to acquit the officer.
Such diametrically different jury outcomes are surprising in a case where the main facts are not in question. We know former Little Rock Police Officer Josh Hastings fired into the car Bobby was driving. Bobby was shot three times, including once in the left side of his head. The real question for the juries in both trials was whether Hastings had a reasonable fear for his life based on a perceived threat posed by Bobby.
That “reasonable fear” question was at the heart of the high-profile trials of George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn. Both men claimed that their use of deadly force was justified under Florida law, and in their respective trials, juries didn’t hold either man responsible for shooting and killing a black teenage boy. (Dunn’s was a hung jury, and he is scheduled to be retried.)
Now Hastings won’t be held responsible for killing Bobby. In opting out of a third trial, the prosecutor said, “The role of the prosecutor is to put before a jury the facts of the case and to advocate for the people of the state of Arkansas and the victim, not to seek a conviction at any cost.” They’ve given up on seeking justice for Bobby.
Source: The Root | T.J. HOLMES