A Maryland cop who serves as a firearms instructor and was caught on video shooting an unarmed burglary suspect in the back in April was no-billed by a grand jury.
The Laurel Police Department, and the cop who has not yet been named, claim the shooting of Rawshawn Lavon Curbean was unintentional, but Curbean’s attorney Patrick Preller said, “Mr. Curbeam was unarmed, shot in the back and not posing a threat to the officer when he was shot down.”
Body camera footage obtained by WUSA9 this week shows cops searching for suspects after responding to a burglary call at the Hindus International Food Market.
Officers had already caught a 15-year-old on the premises after deciding to Taser him when fled and wouldn’t stop. Several cops began searching the premises for additional suspects.
The video shows the officer opening a door to a building and shining his flashlight into the doorway before he suddenly fires his gun, hitting Curbeam in the back.
Curbeam falls to the ground on the other side of the door. The unnamed cop runs toward Curbean and attempts to administer first aid.
Another officer on-scene can be heard telling the officer to “calm down.”
Preller said he was disappointed in the decision to no-bill the officer and plans to file a motion seeking a copy of the grand jury testimony.
The City of Laurel issued a press release saying the officer had been startled by movement in the dark before he shot Curbeam.
Preller released a statement saying the shooting was not justified.
“First, this was not a police justified shooting. Mr. Curbeam was unarmed, shot in the back and not posing a threat to the officer when he was shot down.
We believe the video speaks for itself, and while we understand the Laurel Police Department deems this tragedy an accident, we disagree and believe the video shows otherwise. Police officers are in a unique position of power and authority in our communities; and as such they have a responsibility to be transparent and accountable for their actions. They are specifically trained only to use deadly force when necessary. Deadly force was clearly not necessary in this instance, and even under the most generous interpretation of the officer’s actions in this event, there is no possible interpretation under which the officer’s actions were warranted or should be excused.”
A Capital Gazette news article reports Curbeam was arrested by police in 2015 after being found in possession stolen credit cards after allegedly breaking into cars. Curbeam, who was 19-years-old at the time was charged with rogue and vagabond.