Tuesday, November 10, 2009

First Witness Testifies In Lawlor Police Shooting Trial

White Connecticut cop shoots 3 Blacks in the back and calls himself an "American Patriot", police misconduct in any state doesn't get any more ridiculous than that. [click here] for "The Teflon Badge"


Former Hartford Police Det. Robert Lawlor, shown in the office of his lawyer, Michael Georgetti, in May 2006. (MARK MIRKO / HARTFORD COURANT / May 23, 2006)


By ALAINE GRIFFIN The Hartford Courant

2:37 p.m. EST, November 9, 2009


HARTFORD — - Fifteen-year-old Adrian Mestre was on his way to buy potato chips at Olga's Market on May 7, 2005 when he saw that something was about to happen.

Two white men walked swiftly toward a vehicle in a nearby parking lot at Main and Nelson streets and yelled, "Put your hands up." Minutes later, three or four "rapid" gunshots rang out, Mestre testified Monday in Superior Court in Hartford. The car then sped away.

Mestre, now 20, was the first witness to testify Monday in the trial of Robert Lawlor, a Hartford police detective accused of fatally shooting 18-year-old Jashon Bryant and wounding another person while working with federal authorities on an anti-gun task force in May 2005.

Lawlor, 45, who served 18 years with the Hartford police force, faces charges of manslaughter and assault in connection with the shooting of Bryant. Lawlor says he saw Bryant reaching for a gun while in the passenger seat of a car, but no gun was found.

Mestre said the two men he saw that day were dressed in regular clothes but he knew they were lawmen because they were white and because of the way they were dressed.

"You don't see people like that in the neighborhood," Mestre said.

Mestre, who is currently being held at the Hartford Correctional Center on a felony charge of possession of narcotics, had a difficult time on the witness stand Monday answering some questions from both the prosecutor and Lawlor's defense attorney. He was shown statements he made to police after the shooting and testimony he gave to a grand jury in an effort to help him with recall the incident.

Early in his testimony, Mestre said he could not remember whether the shooting occurred during the day or night. Court records show the incident happened at about 7:30 p.m.

"It was four years ago," Mestre told the prosecutor, New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington. "It could have been getting dark, I don't remember."

Lawlor was working with an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when he said he saw Bryant holding a gun as Bryant got into a friend's car, authorities said. The officers approached the car, and when the vehicle began moving, Lawlor fired his weapon, according to court records.

Lawlor told police that he feared the federal agent was about to get hit by the car and that he believed Bryant was reaching for a gun. Police did not find a weapon in the car. Bryant died instantly while his companion, Brandon Henry, who was shot in the chest, crashed the car into a parked car several blocks away.

A one-person investigatory grand jury recommended that Lawlor face charges, and he was arrested in June 2006.

Testimony resumes this afternoon.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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Added Nov. 16, 2009, 7:40 PM EST:

Testimony Expected From Police Shooting Victim

The Hartford Courant

HARTFORD — - Brandon Henry is scheduled to testify Tuesday in the trial of Robert Lawlor, a Hartford police detective accused of injuring Henry and killing his friend in a 2005 shooting.

Henry was driving a Nissan Maxima the night of May 7, 2005 when Lawlor fatally shot the passenger, 18-year-old Jashon Bryant. Henry was shot in the chest.

Lawlor is facing manslaughter and assault charges.

He was working with a federal agent on a gun task force. They approached the Maxima because Lawlor said he saw the passenger holding gun. The car moved toward the agent and Lawlor opened fire, according to court records.

Henry sped away and crashed into another vehicle on Clark and Nelson streets. A weapon was never found.

Jurors today heard testimony in Superior Court about some of the evidence gathered during the investigation.

A copper jacket projectile was found in the rear passenger door. Another was found in the map console of the driver's side door, Hartford police detective Gregory Gorr testified.

No other firearms-related evidence was found in the car, he said.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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Home > Towns > Hartford
Shooting Victim Testifies In Hartford Cop Trial


Brandon Henry is seen testifying in the trial of Robert Lawlor. (November 17, 2009)

HARTFORD — - Brandon Henry didn't want the two policemen who had stopped the Nissan Maxima he was driving to find the crack cocaine he had in the car.

He didn't want to go to jail and, with one of the officers pointing a gun a the car, he was scared, Henry, 26, testified in Superior Court today.

So when the cop with the gun turned away, Henry turned the Maxima on and started to drive, prompting the officer to open fire.

"I see a chance to flee, so I fled," said Henry.

The officer is Robert Lawlor, a Hartford police detective now on trial for manslaughter and assault charges. He is accused of injuring Henry and killing his friend, 18-year-old Jashon Bryant, in the 2005 shooting.

Lawlor was working with a federal agent on a gun task force. They approached the Maxima, which had been parked in the rear lot of a store on Main Street, because Lawlor said he saw the passenger holding a gun.

Henry testified that as he heard the gunshots, he felt his body hit the steering wheel. When the car made it to Main Street, Henry looked at Bryant.

"I seen him just sitting in the back seat. I was shaking him, calling his name. He was sitting back in the seat, not responding," Henry said.

Bryant had blood on his head, and Henry said he knew the injury was serious. From Main Street he turned onto Westland.

When he got to Clark Street, he saw police lights behind me.

"That's when I mashed on the gas," he said.

Henry said he saw a car in front of him stopped at a stop sign. As the Nissan Maxima got close to the car, Henry put his weight on Bryant so he wouldn't go through the windshield when they crashed.

Henry is expected to continue testifying this afternoon.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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Home > Towns > Hartford

LAWLOR TRIAL WITNESS:
Hartford Officer's Trial: One Of Two Men Shot By Detective Testifies


By HILDA MUÑOZ, The Hartford Courant

November 18, 2009

HARTFORD — - Brandon Henry testified Tuesday that he was afraid the two plainclothes police officers who stopped him in his girlfriend's car on May 7, 2005, would find the crack cocaine he had stashed in the driver's side door.

Henry was on probation for a previous drug conviction and had 3½ years hanging over his head if he got arrested again. Scared of going to prison, he started the engine and began to drive away when one of the officers, the one pointing a gun at the car, turned around to talk on his cellphone.

The officer, a Hartford police detective named Robert Lawlor, opened fire as soon as the car moved. A bullet went through Henry's pectoral muscle. His passenger and friend, 18-year-old Jashon Bryant, was shot in the head and killed.

Henry, 26, testified Tuesday in Superior Court, where Lawlor is on trial on first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault charges. The charges carry a maximum punishment of 40 years in prison if Lawlor, 45, is convicted.

Lawlor was working that night with an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He said he saw Bryant holding a gun as he got into the car, a Nissan Maxima that had been parked in the rear lot of a store on Main Street.

A weapon was never found and an investigatory grand jury recommended that charges be brought against Lawlor, a member of the Hartford force for 18 years.

Henry denied having a weapon during Tuesday's testimony.

There was no gun in the car and Bryant did not have a gun, he said.

"No gun, period," he said, during direct examination by New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington.

Henry said he was in the store on Main Street buying a pack of cigarettes while Byrant parked the car in the rear lot to look for $5 he had lost. When Henry left the store, he noticed two men, one wearing a hoodie and the other in a skull cap, staring at him from across the street.

They approached the Maxima as Henry and Bryant got in. As he backed up and prepared to drive out of the lot, Henry said, he saw the guy in the hoodie draw a weapon and order them to put their hands up.

"Only cops say things like that," Henry said.

Both driver and passenger complied with the officers' orders. But then Henry saw a chance to escape and took it. As he fled and heard the gunshots, he felt his body hit the steering wheel. When the car made it to Main Street, Henry looked at Bryant.

"I seen him just sitting back in the seat. I was shaking him, calling his name. He was sitting back in the seat, not responding," Henry said.

Bryant had blood on his head, and Henry said he knew the injury was serious. The Maxima crashed into a vehicle that had stopped at a stop sign near Clark and Nelson streets.

Henry fled. He ran past a building where he once lived, jumped a couple of fences, crossed a yard and crawled under the porch of a home on Elmer Street where police found him.

Dearington asked if he had entered either of the two apartment buildings or had thrown anything into them.

"I didn't have anything to throw," Henry said.

Lawlor's attorney, Michael A. Georgetti, asked Henry whether drug dealers carry guns. Henry admitted that he sold crack cocaine for a living around the time of the shooting. He drove around the North End of Hartford on May 7, 2005, trying to "catch sales," but denied having a gun.

"I wasn't making that kind of money to carry a gun," he said.

Georgetti asked if selling drugs was dangerous.

"Not that I recall," Henry replied.

Georgetti also asked Henry about his narcotics conviction in 2004, a felony conviction in 2007 and gun charges currently pending in Hartford.

Hartford police stopped Henry in September for riding a bike without illumination de- vices and found he had a black Sentinel .22-caliber revolver and marijuana on him, police said. Charges against Henry in- cluded carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a firearm and failing to have lights illuminated.

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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