An Oklahoma judge declared a mistrial on Friday, yet again, the case of a White police officer who fatally shot his daughter’s Black boyfriend, the New York Daily News reports.
This is the third time within a year that a jury deadlocked in this case. The two previous trials took place in February and November 2016.
Former Tulsa officer, Shannon Kepler, allegedly shot and killed Jeremey Lake in 2014 after his homeless 18-year-old daughter, Lisa Kepler, was dating Lake for a brief time.
Kepler claimed that Lake, 19, was armed, and he shot the teenager in self-defense during an encounter in which his daughter said that Lake was only trying to introduce himself to her father. Investigators, however, did not find a weapon on Lake.
The Daily News reported that Judge Sharon Holmes told the jurors that they could convict Kepler of either first-degree murder or manslaughter (a lesser charge). Jury members deliberated for just four hours and told the judge that they could not reach a unanimous decision.
Lake’s aunt, Pam Wilkins, who allowed the couple to stay at her home, told the outlet that her family is saddened by the outcome. “But I’m not giving up hope,” Wilkins said. “We’re believing in God and justice for Jeremey.”
Tulsa police officers killing people of color is an ongoing issue. In June, police officers fatally shot Joshua Barre, a mentally ill Black man, in front of a convenience store.
A year prior, Tulsa Police Officer Betty Jo Shelby shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher in the middle of a road. A jury acquitted Shelby, who is White, of killing the unarmed Black man.
SOURCE: New York Daily News
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