Dense Fog Advisory issued May 2 at 5:42AM EDT expiring May 2 at 10:00AM EDT in effect for: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Prince Georges, Baltimore City
A shot rang out on Barclay Street in East Baltimore in October of 1999.
An officer said he shot Larry Hubbard, an unarmed man suspected of stealing a car, after he tried to wrestle a gun away from his partner.
Witnesses said police beat Hubbard, kicked him and then shot him in the back of the head execution-style.
High-powered attorney Johnnie Cochran, who had represented O.J. Simpson a few years earlier, joined a high-profile legal team including William "Billy" Murphy, and a grand jury refused to indict the officer in the days that followed.
"I think the man was shot in the back of the head for little or no reason and unfortunately, no one was brought to justice,” recalled Murphy. “There was a civil suit, but there was no criminal prosecution, and that's what people are afraid is going to happen in Missouri, because it happens a lot. There are elements in prosecutors' offices who believe in protecting the police at all costs."
Much like the Brown case, the Hubbard shooting pointed to a cultural divide between a depressed, African-American community and the cops sworn to protect it, and Murphy says it could happen again today because of that disconnect.
"There is an entrenched militaristic attitude by the police, and many of the police come from outside the community and they have no stake in what really goes on here,” said Murphy. “They go home to the county or to another state when it comes to Baltimore, and so you don't have this investment in the community."
While the rioting we're seeing in Missouri didn't happen here in Baltimore following the Hubbard shooting, Murphy says there was a similar lack of trust surrounding the investigation, and he proposes using technology---small cameras that could be attached to officers' uniforms, to restore that confidence in the future.
"People's prejudices come in when you have swearing contests,” said Murphy. “People who are pro-police are going to side with the police. People who are anti-police are going to side with the citizens. That's not going to lead to justice. When we have a way of proving these things beyond any reasonable doubt and that's just putting a camera on a policeman's lapel. (It would) save us all a lot of time, money, trouble, adjudication, because we'll have the truth right there."
The FBI and the U.S. Justice Department also conducted investigations of the Hubbard shooting, but produced no charges.
The victim's family filed a $60 million wrongful death suit against the city and Murphy says they ultimately received a settlement of about $500,000.