Panicked that he was reaching for a gun, a Pennsylvania cop repeatedly tasered a man as he lay facedown in the snow, sending him into convulsions while yelling at him to stop moving.
When the man would not stop convulsing, Hummelstown police officer Lisa Mearkle shot him twice in the back, killing him.
Earlier today, a jury acquitted the 37-year-old police officer after viewing her body cam footage of the February 2, 2015 incident.
The video shows a complete overreaction on her part as there was no indication David Kassick even had a gun.
He was a 59-year-old man who took off running after she had pulled him over for an expired inspection sticker, which somehow made her “convinced he had a gun in his jacket and was reaching for it,” according to NBC News.
“Show me your hands!” she yelled while tasering him; a taser in her left hand, a gun in her right.
But when he lifted his hands in the air, she continued tasering him, sending him into convulsions again where he involuntarily lowered his hands.
And that is when she shot him.
In a rational world, she would have been convicted of murder because not only was there no indication he had a gun, his jacket was zipped up anyway, requiring him to unzip it even if had a gun there.
But there is rarely rationality when it comes to prosecuting cops, who are viewed as delicate gods in the legal system with the license to kill.
Mearkle’s lawyer, Brian Perry, said Kassick’s actions needed to be watched carefully, arguing that the conflict had escalated to the point where it was reasonable for Mearkle to conclude that Kassick was reaching for a weapon.
“It’s unfortunate, it’s tragic, nobody is celebrating death, but we think the jury reached the right verdict,” Perry said.
Even Mearkle admitted it was your basic comply or die death.
According to a timeline of events published on Penn Live in March, Mearkle told investigators the following:
- There was no physical contact or struggle with Kassick during the incident.
- Kassick was not physically aggressive toward her at any point during incident.
- Kassick did not comply with her commands to show his hands.
- Kassick repeatedly reached his left hand, apparently toward his jacket pocket
- She thought Kassick was reaching into his pocket to draw a weapon, or, more specifically, a gun.
- When questioned, she said Kassick had not displayed a weapon at any point. She further explained she did not see him show anything that could have been considered a weapon.
- She fired two shots from her pistol because Kassick would not show his hands and she thought he was reaching into his jacket for a gun.
Kassick’s inspection sticker had expired December 2014, a little over a month before his death. And police say they found a syringe on him, but never said if it contained any drugs.
They also said his autopsy determined he had drugs and alcohol in his system, but never revealed exactly what kind of drugs or how much alcohol.
Mearkle told reporters after the trial that killing Kassick has taken its toll on her life.
“I truly wish it didn’t happen. I want them to know that. I didn’t want to shoot anybody,” she said.
It must have been especially tough on her considering she was placed on unpaid leave.
But now that she has been acquitted, she said she is looking forward to patrolling the borough of Hummelstown once again, which is made up of less than 5,000 people.