From the Chairman
Virginia Officer Found Not Guilty of Assault
When Victor Moultrie was stopped for a routine traffic violation in Virginia Beach, Virginia, he produced false identification. When asked to step out of his car, he instead sped off, dragging a policeman alongside of the car for some 50 feet! Police responding to this incident pursued Moultrie in a high-speed chase. When he finally stopped, the officers cautiously approached his vehicle with weapons drawn. He refused to leave the car or take his hands off the steering wheel.
A struggle ensued and Officer Charles Rosen and other policemen on the scene used pepper spray to subdue Moultrie. Officer Rosen also used his knee to hit Moultrie, and, as a result, was accused of assault. Following a day-long, non-jury trial, Officer Rosen was acquitted of an aggravated assault charge in the District Court of Norfolk, Virginia. The other officers involved in the incident were also found not guilty.
Illinois Officer Acquitted Of Murder
On September 27, 2001, a jury in Bloomington, Illinois, returned a verdict of acquittal in the murder trial of Officer Jeff Gabor of the Hudson, Illinois, Police Department.
The murder charges arose out of a high-speed chase on Interstate highways in July when Officer Gabor was called to assist in the pursuit of a vehicle whose driver was alleged to have stolen property. Following a 30-minute chase, the suspect was finally trapped between two police vehicles in a construction area. Officer Jason Edmonds was at the front of the vehicle with a weapon drawn, Officer Gabor was at the rear of the vehicle with a weapon drawn, and Officer Dennis Carter was at the drivers side window attempting to grab the keys of the car.
Abruptly, the driver threw the car into reverse, dragging Officer Carter, and then shot forward hitting a police cruiser and knocking it forward 30 feet. The driver then attempted to leave the scene. At this point Officer Gabor heard a shot fired and, fearing for his life, shot into the back of the vehicle, striking the driver fatally. Officer Edmonds at the front of the vehicle had fired the first shot to hit the tires to prevent it from running him down. Officer Gabor thought that the shot was from the suspect, and in the heat of the moment it was impossible to know that the shot had come from Officer Edmonds, who had fired to protect his life.
At the trial two experts testified that Officer Gabor had reason to fear for his life and so was justified in using deadly force. The jury agreed and the prosecutor then dropped all charges of reckless conduct against Officer Edmunds for shooting the tires.
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