OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma police captain testified Friday at his first-degree manslaughter trial that he fatally shot a teenager last year because he feared for his life.
Del City police Capt. Randy Harrison explained to jurors that he had been pursuing 18-year-old Dane Scott Jr. and other suspected drug dealers in an effort to clean up illegal activity in the community, The Oklahoman reported (http://bit.ly/18Xp5xq ).
Harrison has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter and faces up to life in prison if convicted. He'll resume his testimony Monday, when jurors could also begin their deliberations.
Prosecutors said Scott was unarmed when Harrison shot him in the back and killed in southeast Oklahoma City. The shooting came after a police chase, a scuffle where Scott was disarmed after allegedly pointing a gun at Harrison and a foot chase.
Harrison had arrested Scott on drug violations previously, and prosecutors say he became so fixated on the teen that he finally crossed the line, shooting him in the back at a time when he posed no threat to anyone. But the defense has argued that the shooting was justified.
"He had just tried to shoot me in the face and kill me," Harrison told jurors Friday. "I thought he was going to turn around and shoot me."
Harrison — who is also a police firearms instructor and SWAT team commander— said it was the only time he'd fired his weapon in the line of duty during his quarter-century career with the department. He's been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.
Harrison also testified that he was spending half of his shifts out on patrol rather than in his normal supervisory duties in order to pursue suspected drug dealers.
"Nobody else was doing it. Nobody else wanted to do it. Somebody had to stand up, and I was there," Harrison said.
Earlier Friday, pathologist Dr. Inas Yacoub testified for the prosecution, telling jurors that the injury to Scott was one "people cannot survive."
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com