TOWSON, Md. — A jury on Thursday acquitted a Baltimore County police of charges in the death of a teenager with whom the officer struggled after the youth allegedly threw a rock at his house.
The jury deliberated about three hours before finding James Laboard not guilty of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Laboard had been charged in the June 13, 2012, death of 17-year-old Christopher Brown.
Police have said Laboard was off duty and at his Randallstown home when he heard a loud noise, went outside and found his front door damaged. Authorities said Laboard chased a group of teenagers and caught up with Brown, who was hiding in some bushes.
A struggle ensued. Brown lost consciousness and died.
An assistant medical examiner testified that Brown died of asphyxia.
Prosecutors had claimed that the officer used a type of chokehold that caused Brown to lose consciousness. But Laboard’s attorney maintained that his client did not intentionally kill Brown and that his death was an accident. Laboard did not testify.
Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said he respects the jury’s decision.
After the verdict, Baltimore County police issued a statement saying Laboard will return to paid status immediately. But, the statement said, “Officer Laboard will remain suspended pending the outcome of the department’s review of this case and will be assigned to administrative duties.”
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