- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A judge barred authorities Tuesday from releasing a video that shows a central Pennsylvania police officer fatally shooting an unarmed man in the back after he fled a traffic stop earlier this year.

Releasing the video would jeopardize Lisa Mearkle’s right to a fair trial, Dauphin County Judge Deborah Curcillo ruled.

Curcillo ordered the hearing last month after Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico sought to provide the video to news organizations. Mearkle’s lawyer, Brian Perry, asked Curcillo to block the video’s release.

Curcillo, however, has said prosecutors could show the video at trial. Barring a pretrial release of the video “encourages a speedy trial” and helps ensure the jury pool is unbiased, Curcillo wrote.

“If released prematurely, it is likely that members of the public will view this video and form opinions about it,” she wrote, according to Pennlive.com. “How many of us have seen the bystander videos of similar events occurring throughout our nation and formed opinions? It is only human to do so.”

The video was captured by a camera affixed to the officer’s stun gun. It shows the slaying of David Kassick, 59, after a vehicle chase in February by Mearkle, a police officer in the Harrisburg suburb of Hummelstown.

Mearkle, who is charged with criminal homicide in the case, was concerned that Kassick may have been reaching for a weapon and shot in self-defense, Perry maintains. Mearkle, 36, is a 15-year veteran of the department.

Police said Mearkle, 36, shocked Kassick four times with the camera-equipped stun gun, and then shot him twice in the back, four seconds apart. The incident began when she attempted to stop him for expired inspection and emissions stickers and he sped away, police have said.

Mearkle was suspended without pay after her arrest and remains on electronic monitoring while out on bail. Her formal arraignment is scheduled for June 11.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide