Wednesday, December 09, 2009

White Cop who likes to shoot Blacks in Back

[click here] for post about the "Teflon Badge", Robert Lawlor

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Former Hartford police Det. Robert Lawlor speaks outside the Hartford Superior Court after was found not guilty of manslaughter. (BETTINA HANSEN / HARTFORD COURANT / December 8, 2009)

Former Hartford Police Officer Robert Lawlor Not Guilty Of Manslaughter


4:51 p.m. EST, December 8, 2009

HARTFORD - Former Hartford police officer Robert Lawlor was found not guilty today of manslaughter for shooting and killing one man and wounding another in 2005.

The jury returned the verdict in Hartford Superior Court around 1 p.m. today. It began deliberating the case Friday afternoon. Lawlor faced a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Jashon Bryant, 18, was killed on May 7, 2005, when Lawlor shot him and 26-year-old Brandon Henry during a drug investigation. Lawlor testified that he thought Bryant had a gun.

Wailing with grief, Bryant's family and friends rushed out of the courtroom after the verdict was read.

"A policeman has license to kill black people in our neighborhood and get away with it," said Keith Thomas, Bryant's father. "It was my son who got bullets put into him. [Lawlor] should be going to prison."

Judicial marshals stood by inside the courthouse as the verdict was read, and the mood was tense and confrontational. All other court business had been stopped.

Outside the courthouse, Thomas continued to criticize the police, as well as an all-white jury of four women and two men.

"Where do we go from here?" he asked. "We still live in the slavery days. Do what you want to the niggers out here on the street, because you're going to get away with it," he said.

Bryant's mother Cynthia nearly collapsed outside the courthouse as she sobbed with relatives about the verdict.

"It wasn't no justice," she said. "That man killed my son, and he got applauded for it."

Speaking outside the courthouse, Lawlor said he was prepared for the jury to come back with either verdict, but he said he was not willing to apologize.

"To apologize would be to admit some fault," Lawlor said. He said it was the toughest decision he'd ever had to make.

"I did what I had to do that night to ensure the safety of the public," he said.

"This case was certainly a tragedy for Bobby Lawlor and certainly a tragedy for the family of Jashon Bryant," said Michael A. Georgetti, Lawlor's attorney. "My heart goes out to everyone.

"However," he continued, "this case should not have been tried in the first place. The legislature should take a close look at the investigatory grand jury system and the abuses that take place within it." When asked what Lawlor would do next, Georgetti said he did not believe he would go back into law enforcement. "At this point my client is going to get on with the rest of his life."

Two dozen state police troopers and judicial marshals escorted Lawlor down Russ Street to his attorney's office as members of Bryant's family yelled at Lawlor. At one point, the crowd stopped at the intersection of Russ and Oak streets, blocking traffic as Bryant's father Keith Thomas and Bryant's sister Shirin Bryant confronted Lawlor in the middle of the street.

Shirin Bryant talked with Lawlor about how, throughout the trial, they exchanged hellos, and Lawlor agreed. But when asked why Lawlor would not apologize to her, Lawlor said, "I don't want to talk in front of 50 people."

Hartford police then called for backup to clear the traffic, and Lawlor proceeded into Georgetti's office.

Lawlor was working a police sting involving drugs and guns with an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when, he said, he saw Bryant holding a gun as Bryant got into Henry's car, authorities said. The officers approached the car, and when the vehicle began moving, Lawlor fired his weapon. The bullets struck Bryant and Henry, who sped away from the scene.

Bryant died instantly from two gunshot wounds to the head. Henry, who was shot in the chest, ran away wounded and hid under a porch until police dogs found him. Henry told officers who found him he couldn't believe he "got shot over drugs," according to testimony. Police found cocaine in the vehicle, but they never found a weapon, and a grand jury recommended that charges be brought against Lawlor.

Lawlor did not take the stand, but his grand jury testimony was read into evidence.

Check back to for updates.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story posted on Dec. 8 at 2:21 p.m. misidentified Jashon Bryant's sister. Her name is Shirin Bryant .

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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A Norwalk, Connecticut, police officer, Matthew Morelli, allegedly committed suicide by holding an AK-47 out by its barrel, yeah right! There are allegations of all sorts of police misconduct including risk of injury to minors and worse. [more]

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