Baltimore Cops Under Fire For Lying About Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man
Police officers involved in a 2013 shooting have been exposed for lying about how the incident transpired, NewsOne reports.
Shaun Mouzon was suspected of having a gun by a group of police officers (Chris Szakolczai, Charles Mewshaw, and Kevin Saliba) in January 2013. The officers attempted to capture Mouzon in an unmarked squad car.
The charging documents written by Officer Fabian Laronde concluded that Mouzon drove towards them in a crowded intersection and appeared to have a handgun in his possession, leading the officers to fire their guns.
Mouzon survived the shooting, but was charged with one count of having a handgun in a vehicle, one count of illegal possession of a handgun, a charge of failing to obey a lawful order, and traffic violations.
However, video of the encounter has proven that the officers not only lied about what happened, but Laronde documented the case as factual to investigators. Mouzon's lawsuit seeking damages for the shooting reveals the officers never found a gun at the scene. The video, which can be seen here, also shows the officers approaching Mouzon.
Attorney A. Dwight Pettit explained the video to The Baltimore Sun on Friday:
"The car was stopped in traffic. The allegation that their lives were in danger by the movement of the car is absolutely ridiculous and is an absolute misstatement of the facts."
Mouzon seeks more than $1.2 million in damages. Around the same time he announced the federal lawsuit, the gun charges were dropped.
While details about Mouzon's shooting are being investigated, Officer Laronde's past has come into question.
Via The Baltimore Sun:
"Laronde was suspended in October in relation to an off-duty incident. In November, he was banned from the city courthouse after an incident in which he was accused of filming a witness and a TV reporter in the hallway the day of a hearing about his internal affairs file. Photography is prohibited inside the courthouse.
This month, in a rare move, more than 20 defense attorneys banded together seeking Laronde's internal affairs files, citing "a multitude of incidents that raise questions about his credibility," including allegations he omitted key information under oath.
Laronde has previously been accused of illegally strip-searching a man in a civil case the city settled for $155,000. In another case, a jury awarded $40,000 in damages to a court clerk who said Laronde and other officers accosted him inside the city courthouse. In such agreements, neither the city nor the officers admit wrongdoing.
Following the defense attorneys' motion, city prosecutors said they are analyzing the evidence in "each and every case" involving Laronde that's open and pending "to determine the viability of those cases," said Rochelle Ritchie, a spokeswoman for Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby."
Laronde's account of the case doesn't include Mouzon's possession of a gun, but he does imply the then-suspect was "displaying characteristics of an armed person."
The officers named in Mouzon's lawsuit defended their actions. They were cleared of any wrongdoing in July 2013.