Amy Caprio: A Troublesome Engagement of a White Woman and a Black Male Teen

Biases aside, what’s your take on how much slack a trained police officer should be given for a momentary lapse of judgement?

How about a 15-year old kid?

Defense attorney J. Wyndal Gordon has an uphill climb convincing a jury that any error in judgement for a cop should result in her death sentence.

“We live in a world where a trained police officer can panic but a teenager is expected to remain calm with a gun pointed at him,” Gordon told jurors in his opening statement Tuesday April 23, 2019.

The U.S. has a history, if not a penchant, for idolizing white women.  It’s likely to be offensive to the ears of those on the jury to even consider that Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio a white 29-year old, from a white community, working in a white department, protecting the property of white residents may have made a mistake at all.

“Strong feelings do not make strong facts,” Gordon said.

Dawnta Harris is not Emmitt Till, but he may as well be. Once a white woman cried foul over a cat call whistle Till allegedly made, the teen’s future was sealed.  He was abducted, tortured, and body discarded for that infraction.

Twenty nine year old Amy Caprio was thought by her fellow officers to have been shot in the head and then ran over by a black teen.  Harris was detained based on a general description, taken into custody a block from the incident, interrogated at a police station after he waived his rights. The 15 year old reportedly confessed to murdering Caprio, which led to his arrest.

“I want you to free your mind like you’ve only seen half of the case because you did,” Gordon said.

Once the highly publicized trial began, the jury saw three body worn camera videos.  One worn by Caprio as she cornered Harris in a residential cal-de-sac of white residents, exited her patrol vehicle pointing her weapon at Harris; another by the officers who stopped Harris when he was walking near the scene, and the other by an officer who took the description from a witness who saw a young black man exiting the stolen vehicle that Caprio shot and that ran her over.

Once it’s all said and done, “If you have more questions than answers, you have to find [Harris] not guilty,” said Gordon.

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