For the third time in 9 months, the trial of a former Tulsa, Okla., police officer who admittedly shot and killed his white daughter’s black 19-year-old boyfriend as ended in a mistrial. Shannon Kepler a 24-year police veteran, was accused of the shooting death of Jeremy Lake as he was taking a walk with the officer’s daughter. It is alleged that Kepler and Lake got into an argument when the officer randomly opened fire on both Lake and his daughter. The pair had met only a week prior at a homeless shelter where 18-year-old Lisa Kepler sought refuge when her parents kicked her out of the house. While Gina Kepler, Lisa’s mother and Shannon’s wife who is also an officer was also at the scene of the crime originally arrested for accessory to murder after the fact, the charges were later dropped. However, “authorities say they did not cooperate with the search for the gun or the vehicle used in the crime.” And just like that, another killer cop who has murdered an unarmed black youth may be walking free.
As Angela Helm for The Root writes:
NBC Washington reports that a Tulsa prosecutor on the case expressed shock when District Judge Sharon Holmes again declared a mistrial in the case against Shannon Kepler (she has overseen all three trials), because jurors had deliberated for only a few hours.
“I have never experienced that procedure before in my life,” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said, noting that judges often tell juries to continue deliberating after such a short amount of time.
NBC 4 reports:
Kepler doesn’t deny shooting 19-year-old Jeremey Lake, but claims he was acting in self-defense. Kepler testified that Lake was armed, although police didn’t find a weapon on Lake or at the scene. The shooting happened shortly after Lake had started dating Kepler’s then-18-year-old daughter, Lisa.
Attorneys said jurors deliberated for just 2 ½ to three hours on Friday before saying they were deadlocked 6-6. Holmes reminded jurors that the trial had started June 27 and asked whether that changed their minds. When they said no, the judge declared a mistrial.
Kunzweiler said he will re-evaluate the 2014 case, taking into account the cost of retrying it, and decide before an Aug. 1 status conference whether to try Kepler for a fourth time.
Unlike the previous two trials, Judge Holmes had instructed jurors that they could convict Kepler of first-degree murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Kunzweiler said it was unclear whether the jury’s deadlock was six for conviction and six for acquittal or six for murder and six for the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Juries in Kepler’s previous two trials, in November and February, deadlocked 11-1 and 10-2 in favor of guilt before Holmes declared mistrials after up to 12 hours of deliberations in each case.
Looks as if another cop will get off for shooting a young unarmed black person.
— The Miami Times (@TheMiamiTimes) July 9, 2017
The biggest injustice lies in Kepler’s reasoning for killing Lake- he said he “was trying to protect his daughter, who had run away from home and to “crime ridden neighborhoods”” which is a thinly veiled attempt at justifying his bigotry and the killing of the young man over the color of his skin. While the story continues to unfold it is not difficult to surmise as to what the outcome will be in this case.
What are you thoughts on the matter? Share your views in the comments below.
(Article by: Tasha Sharifa)