Posted on November 25, 2019

Alabama Jury Convicts Police Officer of Manslaughter for Killing Unarmed Black Man

Morgan Phillips, FOX News, November 22, 2019

Montgomery Officer Aaron Cody Smith

Montgomery Officer Aaron Cody Smith

Former Montgomery, Ala. police officer Aaron Cody Smith was convicted of manslaughter Friday for fatally shooting Gregory Gunn, an unarmed black man, in 2016.

Smith was charged with murder, but the jury was given the option to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter.

District Attorney Daryl Bailey said he would ask for Smith to receive the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to WBRC.

A jury heard testimony for three days and then deliberated for three hours before coming to the verdict. Smith resigned from the department after the verdict was read. He’d been on paid leave since the killing.

Smith shot Gunn, 58, as he was walking home late at night. The officer had called Gunn over for a stop-and-frisk, at which point he fled.

Defense lawyers said that Smith fired the gun in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter’s pole from a porch. Prosecutors maintained that Gunn was never a threat to the officer.


Smith claimed that he’d been told to “stop everything that moves” in his district, due to a rash of burglaries in the area. He said he stopped Gunn because he believed he matched the description of a suspect wanted for property crimes.

Smith added that while he was patting down Gunn, he felt a hard object he believed to be a weapon and Gunn, who had cocaine in his system, swatted away his hand. He said Gunn ran, ignoring Smith’s command to stop. Smith then deployed a taser and police baton, to no avail. When the pair arrived a front porch and Smith claimed Gunn grabbed a paint pole and Smith fired his weapon.