Officer Who Shot Motorist In Back Says She Was Afraid While He Was Lying Face Down

Too often we hear the tired rap that police were afraid, and that’s why they shot to kill. “I thought he had a gun,” small-town police officer Lisa Mearkle told jurors Wednesday during her trial.

Even after she shocked 59-year-old David Kassick repeatedly with a stun gun, and he was lying face down on the pavement immobilized, she feared so much for her life she shot him dead.

“I wish he was here right now. I wish he didn’t do this,” Mearkle said, sobbing on the stand. “I didn’t want to have to shoot him, but he made me.”

The whole thing began when Mearkle attempted to stop Kassick for an expired tag. She followed him to his sister’s house where he’d been staying, and he ran into the back yard. When he reached into his jacket she shot him with her taser.

“There was no other reason for him to reach in his freaking jacket,” Mearkle said. “What else was I supposed to think he’s reaching for?”

But he was unarmed. Mearkle was overwhelmed by the situation with dispatch talking to her on her radio and Kassick’s brother yelling at her to stop shocking Kassick. So she shot him. A syringe was later found on Kassick and it was believed that he had both drugs and alcohol in his system. That may have been the reason he ran.

“I’m a good police officer,” she told jurors. “This should not have happened to me.”

Listen to that. Officer Mearkle is now playing the victim here. She was overwhelmed by the chaos of the situation. This happened to her, not because of her. “I didn’t want to have to shoot him, but he made me.” All statements that refuse to accept responsibility for her own actions. Instead, she blames Kassick for making her shoot him as if he was asking for it or he was pulling the trigger. Instead of her police training preparing her for chaotic moments in her job and how to de-escalate the situation. Instead, she acted irresponsibly and unprofessionally and a man is dead because of her poor judgment. Instead of taking responsibility for that, she’s passing the buck.

A Facebook page set up by family and friends of Kassick called Justice For David NOW recently uploaded a photo quoting Officer Mearkle, who said, “I was only charged for political reasons.”

Activist Betty Errol reported on Facebook this morning that Penn Live was reporting that around 10am the jury asked for more instruction on the law. “This leads me to believe they want to find her guilty they are confused on which sentence to pick,” she wrote

UPDATE: The officer has been acquitted by the jury.  

Featured image via our friends at the FreeThoughtProject.org