Why a cop who killed an unarmed black man in Louisiana still deserves the death penalty
A cop who fatally shot a black man at the hands of a white officer in Louisiana last month has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison, according to court documents.
In a three-page opinion filed Thursday in federal court, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said that Dontre Hamilton, 35, who is black, and Anthony Hargrove, 31, who was white, “failed to stop the fatal beating of Mr. Hargrop,” a black driver in the Louisiana city of New Orleans.
Hamilton had been ordered by the U.C.L.A. to be held in jail until a court hearing on Dec. 6.
Hargrovel, meanwhile, was released on bail pending the outcome of a new trial.
Harras was a former police officer in New Orleans who was hired in 2011 to oversee the city’s response to the 2010 unrest after an officer shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, sparking nationwide protests.HARRAS, HARRAS’S LAWYER, SAYS THE BODY IS FALLING DOWN”I’m very confident that the state’s evidence is compelling, that the evidence is consistent with this conclusion,” said the lawyer for the Hargrotts, Joseph R. Rannazzisi.
“We’re confident that no reasonable juror could conclude that the facts of this case justify the death sentence.”
The judge wrote that Hargros trial is “an extremely complex and delicate matter.”
In his ruling, Breyer rejected a request by the defense to dismiss the manslaughter conviction against Hamilton.
The judge wrote, “If the jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Hamilton did commit murder, it is clear that the penalty should not be imposed, as it would not be fair.”
The trial of Hargrogs and Hamilton began in September 2015 after the state Supreme Court vacated Hargrovas conviction for the 2010 shooting death of Hargeres.
That court’s decision was based on a finding by the State’s Attorney’s Office that the case against Hargroces “is not a reasonable one.”
The defense team argued that the shooting of Harras could have been avoided if Hargron had been handcuffed and a judge had imposed the mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison for manslaughter instead of life.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment on Thursday.
A federal appeals court in New York ruled in 2015 that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional.
The two cases are among the most high-profile U.N. cases in recent years.
The U.K. Supreme Court rejected Hamilton’s claim that the sentence should be set at death.
The federal appeals judge ruled in June that Harrats case should go to trial and that the jury should be instructed that if the jury reaches a verdict in favor of HARRASCES, that verdict should be considered as a valid death sentence.
In New Orleans, Hargraves funeral is being held on Friday at the St. Bernard Parish Cathedral in Baton Rouge.
His mother, Karen, said the family would make an emotional appeal.