An ex-SWAT commander of the police was cleared of murder charges on Friday by a jury in Florida after he fatally shot another moviegoer after a dispute over cell phone usage.
The six-member panel began deliberating on Friday, and it delivered its decision late that night, according to news sources.
79-year-old retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves was charged with second-degree murder for the death of Chad Oulson on January 13, 2014, which occurred during an incident at a nearby theatre.
Richard Escobar, the defence attorney, claimed during closing arguments that Oulson, 43, turned, yelled, and reached for Reeves, 71, to make him fear his life was in danger.
According to him, Reeves decided to shoot after receiving hours of instruction on the proper use of deadly force.
During his nearly 30 years as a police officer. Escobar said that Reeves didn’t have to wait to protect himself before being struck.
Escobar Said the Evidence Proves their Contention
Escobar claimed that the evidence supports their claim that, in the disputed seconds prior to being shot.
Oulson struck Reeves in the face with his cellphone, appeared prepared to leap over the seats and launch an attack, and reached out toward him.
Reeves claimed during his testimony on Thursday that he had never faced someone so out of control in his whole career as a law enforcement officer and that he had feared for his life.
Reeves claimed that due to his advanced age, arthritis, and other physical conditions, he was only able to protect himself by shooting.
Escobar claimed that the time between the popcorn toss and the shot was less than three-quarters of a second.
He claimed that it was too quick to be the cause of Reeves’ firing. Rosenwasser, however, argued that Reeves’ account was false.
The prosecutor claimed that security footage does not show Oulson throwing the cellphone, and Reeves had no injuries to his face where he claims it hit him.
Chad Oulson, a retired Gulf War veteran, was fatally shot by retired SWAT commander Curtis J. Reeves Jr. on January 13, 2014, in a Cobb Theatres movie theatre in Wesley Chapel, Florida, in the United States.
After a brief argument between the two guys, the shooting took place during the movie previews.
When Oulson was instructed to put away his cell phone, Reeves was hit with popcorn by Oulson.