Cop Charged with Homicide for Shooting Unarmed Man Twice in the Back

Originally published on March 26, 2015, at

A Pennsylvania police officer was charged with criminal homicide on Tuesday for shooting an unarmed man in the back while he remained facedown on the ground. Although the unarmed man had been fleeing from a traffic stop over expired tags, the District Attorney admitted that the video from the officer’s Taser shows nothing in the victim’s hands when the officer shot him twice in the back. Accused of employing deadly force without justification, the officer has been released on bail and is under electronic monitoring.

Around 4pm on February 2, Hummelstown Police Officer Lisa Mearkle noticed a blue Saturn with expired inspection and emission stickers from last December. After Mearkle activated her patrol car’s lights and siren, 59-year-old David Kassick fled to his sister’s home where he had been living temporarily. Arriving at his sister’s residence, Kassick pulled the Saturn into the driveway, exited the vehicle, and ran towards the backyard. Mearkle parked her patrol car behind his vehicle and pursued Kassick on foot.

After closing the distance between them, Mearkle fired her Taser deploying probes into Kassick’s back. Kassick fell facedown onto the snow as Mearkle held the Taser in her left hand and drew her Glock .22 pistol in her right hand. After ordering Kassick to show his hands, Mearkle shot him again with her Taser. Momentarily unable to see Kassick’s left hand, Mearkle fired a bullet into his back.

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