In this March 24, 2016, file photo, Montgomery Police Officer Aaron Smith, left, arrives for a hearing at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Montgomery, Ala.
Albert Cesare—AP
By Associated Press
November 22, 2019

(OZARK, Ala.) — An Alabama jury has found a white police officer guilty of manslaughter for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in 2016.

News outlets report that a jury returned the guilty verdict against Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith for the shooting death of 58-year-old Gregory Gunn.

Smith shot and killed Gunn after he fled from a random stop-and-frisk. The defense maintain that Smith fired in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter’s pole from a porch, but prosecutors say Gunn was never a threat.

Prosecutors had charged Smith with murder. Jurors returned the guilty verdict on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The trial was moved from Montgomery to Ozark, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) away, because of publicity.

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