From: Air Force Times
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy was acquitted of all charges Thursday in a videotaped shooting of an unarmed Iraq war veteran who was a passenger in a car that crashed after leading authorities on a high-speed chase.
Ivory J. Webb was found not guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm for opening fire on Air Force Senior Airman Elio Carrion in an incident that was videotaped and broadcast around the world, said Susan Mickey, a district attorney’s spokeswoman.
Webb, 46, who has since left the department, had faced up to 18 years in prison. He hugged his defense attorney and burst into tears after the verdict was read in San Bernardino County Superior Court.
“Mr. Webb, you’re free to go,” the judge told him.
Prosecutor R. Lewis Cope said he was disappointed but nonetheless praised jurors who deliberated for several hours before reaching a verdict.
“I believe the evidence that was presented was sound and at all times we were very confident in this case, but the jury has decided and we respect that decision,” he said.
Carrion, who has been on light duty at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, could not be reached for comment. A call to his attorney, Luis A. Carrillo, was not immediately returned.
Carrion, who was home on leave after serving in Iraq, was a passenger in a Corvette that was chased Jan. 29 last year by Webb at 100 mph before crashing into a wall in Chino, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.
On the grainy, 40-second video clip shot in darkness by an area resident, Carrion can be heard swearing at Webb before the deputy tells him, “Get up! Get up!” Webb, who is shouting expletives himself, then shoots Carrion in the chest, left leg and left shoulder as the victim appears to be obeying the order.
Carrion was hospitalized for several days.
Prosecutors said Carrion did not pose a threat to Webb, who they characterized as angry and not in control of the situation.
Defense attorneys said Carrion’s hand was near his chest moments before he was shot — giving the former deputy the impression the airman was reaching for a weapon.
Carrion testified during the trial he and the driver, Luis Escobedo, had been drinking at a barbecue in his honor after a six-month tour in Iraq.
Webb did not take the stand during the four-week trial. Three witnesses testified for the defense, including a tactics expert who said the shooting was justified and an alcohol expert who testified about the victim’s intoxication level.