BREAKING: Dale Co. jury finds officer guilty of manslaughter

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OZARK, Ala. (AP/WDHN/WAKA) — A Dale County jury finished deliberations in the trial of a white police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man in 2016.

Justin Walker, a reporter for ABC affiliate Alabama News Network, reports that the verdict was handed down unanimously.

Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith faced a murder charge for the 2016 fatal shooting of 58-year-old Gregory Gunn.

Smith shot and killed Gunn after he fled from a random stop-and-frisk. The defense maintains Smith fired in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter’s pole from a porch, but prosecutors say Gunn was never a threat.

Judge Philip McLauchlin Jr. gave jurors the option of considering the lesser included charge of manslaughter.

The trial was moved from Montgomery to Ozark, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) away, because of publicity.

Smith will now be in the sheriff’s custody until his bond hearing.

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