Philadelphia police officer convicted of manslaughter after shooting unarmed Black motorist

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A white Philadelphia police officer was convicted Wednesday of voluntary manslaughter and gun charges in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorcyclist who opened fire six seconds after the officer arrived on the scene. .

Officer Eric Roach Jr. told jurors he feared for his life when he opened fire on Dennis Plowden Jr. as the 25-year-old sat on the sidewalk after hitting a car during a high-speed chase. He said Plowden raised his left hand, but kept his right hand hidden despite police orders. The officer said he could not take cover and was afraid he would be shot.

The defense said it was only later that he learned Plowden was unarmed.

Trial begins for Philadelphia police officer who shot unarmed black motorcyclist

“As soon as my client found out It was heroin And not the gun, he was worried. He was distraught,” attorney David Musk said in opening statements last week.

Roach, 34, bowed his head and cried as he heard the verdict Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. He was soon taken into custody.

The jury rejected a more serious one Charged with third degree murder, but also convicted Roach of possessing an instrument of crime. A charge of aggravated manslaughter is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for November 17.

Eric Roach Jr., pictured here on Oct. 9, 2020, shot and killed Dennis Plowden Jr. less than 6 seconds later at the scene, claiming he thought the shooting was accidental. The time was approaching with Plowden’s gun.
(Philadelphia Police Department via AP)

Musk noted that the jury did not believe Roach killed Plowden, even though “prosecutors have vigorously pursued a manslaughter conviction since their client was indicted”. He said his client will consider his legal options moving forward.

Roach is one of the three cities. Police officers They were charged with on-duty murder by District Attorney Larry Krasner, a longtime civil rights attorney who often sued police earlier in his career. A charge of first-degree murder against him was dismissed before trial.

Krasner had little comment after the verdict, thanking the jurors for what he called their “great and demanding” public service, but said he expected to say more at Roach’s sentencing.

A Philadelphia police officer was shot in the head, the bullet lodged in his hat. Both officers were released from the hospital.

During the trial, the defense attorney asked jurors to consider the two-minute chase through a downtown neighborhood that preceded the shooting. Plowden was driving a car initially believed to be connected to the recent murder. However, officials said he was not involved in the case.

“It was a tragedy,” Musk said of the teenager’s death. “Convicting my client really adds to the tragedy.”

In a landmark pre-trial ruling, Philadelphia Common Plea Judge Barbara McDermott barred prosecutors from telling jurors about the numerous complaints filed against Roach during his 10-year police career because he was mostly cleared of wrongdoing by internal affairs.

Philadelphia boy, 12, killed after police officers shoot; “We as a society” failed him, says the commissioner.

Prosecutors said there was no justification for shooting Plowden, noting that several other officers took cover and held their fire. A bullet from Roach’s gun passed through Plowden’s raised left hand before hitting him in the head. He died the next day.

Roach was fired from the police department after 10 months.

Plowden’s widow, Tanya Bond, who testified briefly at the trial, won a $1.2 million wrongful-death settlement from the city.

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