Associated Press, November 21, 2019
An Alabama jury is expected to begin deliberations Friday in the trial of a white police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man in 2016.
Testimony in the murder trial concluded Thursday with the officer taking the stand to describe the shooting and prosecutors and a defense lawyer giving diverging descriptions of the fatal encounter, news outlets reported.
Montgomery Officer Aaron Cody Smith fatally shot 58-year-old Gregory Gunn after Smith stopped Gunn as he was walking home for a stop-and-frisk and Gunn ran. The defense maintains Smith fired in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter’s pole from a porch, but prosecutors said Gunn was never a threat to the officer.
The shooting of the unarmed black man by a white police officer caused protests in Alabama’s capital city. Friends said Gunn was walking home from a weekly card game to the house he shared with his mother when he was stopped by Smith.
Prosecutors in closing arguments called Smith a “bully with a badge” and suggested the crime scene contradicts Smith’s versions of events.
The trial was moved from Montgomery to the southeast Alabama town of Ozark, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) away, because of publicity in the capital.