Experts cite a confluence of factors, including racial bias, attitudes toward law enforcement and the challenge of showing precisely what an officer was thinking in a high-pressure situation. In the end, many jurors are simply reluctant to reject the accounts provided by police.
“They just don’t want to second-guess officers in those life-or-death decisions,” said Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. “They think, `What if that was me? What if that was my child who was the police officer?“’
A jury last week acquitted the Minnesota officer who fatally shot Philando Castile, whose girlfriend livestreamed the moments after the shooting on Facebook. Then on Wednesday, jurors acquitted a black police officer of first-degree reckless homicide in the killing of a black Milwaukee man who threw away the gun he was carrying during a brief foot chase after a traffic stop. Read more.