TOWSON, Md. - After less than one day of deliberations, a jury has found a Baltimore County police officer not guilty in the death of a teenager.
James Laboard faced charges of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in the June 13, 2012 death of 17-year-old Chris Brown.
According to police, Laboard was off duty when a group of kids threw a rock at the door of his Randallstown home and then ran away. Witnesses say Laboard chased Brown who tried to hide in some bushes before he was caught and a struggle ensued. Brown died of asphyxiation.
Prosecutors contended Laboard used excessive force while defense attorneys contend the use of force was justified. If Laboard had been convicted of manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison.
Baltimore County police spokeswoman Elise Armacost released the following statement following the verdict:
"The Baltimore County Police Department respects the decision of the jury in this case. Officers of the law are entitled to the same due process as any other citizen. In this case, a jury has found Officer Laboard not guilty on all charges, and as a result he will return to a paid status effective immediately. Officer Laboard will remain suspended pending the outcome of the department's review of this case and will be assigned to administrative duties."
Armacost said the department will have no further comment beyond this statement.
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