A federal jury acquitted Lance Corporal Steven Garren of the South Carolina State Police for striking Marvin Grant with his cruiser, despite comments made by Garren on a videotape posted below where he brags about striking Grant. Watch the video here:
As you watch the video, you will see that the Officer is driving along and that suddenly Grant cuts in front of his patrol vehicle. I acknowledge that it may have been impossible to avoid striking Grant with the vehicle, but where I take issue with this video is the comment.
Garren brags to a deputy who also had been pursuing Grant: "Hey, I nailed the (expletive) out of him." Seconds later, Garren says: "Yeah, I hit him. I was trying to hit him."
This video contradicts the testimony given at trial, where Garren testified that this was only an accident and he lacked reaction time. It seems to me that this was more of a situation where Garren and his attorneys cleaned up his attitude and testimony for trial but with a video, the jury must have been deaf and dumb to not hear and believe what his real intentions were. Yes, Grant was running. Yes, it could have been an accident. No, Garren should not have made the comments he did in the video… couldn’t he as easily have said, "He came out of no-where, I could not react?"— which is a paraphrase of his in-court testimony.
Video and recorded evidence carries much more weight than that of in-court testimony becuase it shows the scene that the officers and suspects were involved with. Further, it allows a peek into the emotional state of the scene and allows us to understand how those emotions were impacting actions.
Bottom line, the jury probably just acquitted Garren because they viewed Grant as a trouble-maker … running from the cops. Or, race may have factored into it. I want to believe that is not the case, but I cannot rule it out. Here’s to hoping that one day, Americans move beyond their biases and prejudices that seem to pervade so many aspects to our society–especially in the justice system.