FILE - 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. Lawyers gave opening statements Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in the murder trial of Smith, an Alabama police officer charged with killing an unarmed man. Montgomery police Officer Aaron Cody Smith is charged in the 2016 shooting death of 58-year-old Gregory Gunn. (Albert Cesare/Montgomery Advertiser via AP, FIle)

Jury begins deliberating in fatal shooting of black man

November 22, 2019 - 11:54 am

OZARK, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama jury has begun deliberations in the trial of a white police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man in 2016.

WSFA reports the jury began deliberations Friday morning.

Montgomery police Officer Aaron Cody Smith faces a murder charge for the 2016 fatal shooting of 58-year-old Gregory Gunn.

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

Judge Philip McLauchlin Jr. gave jurors the option of considering the lesser included charge of manslaughter.

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

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