Police Officer Who Shot Man In The Back Said She Feared He Had A Gun

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 5 months ago

News from Pennsylvania:

A small-town police officer on trial for fatally shooting an unarmed motorist in the back testified Wednesday in her murder trial that she believed the man had a gun and she feared for her safety as he lay on the ground.

Hummelstown Officer Lisa Mearkle told jurors she believed David Kassick was still a threat even after she shocked him repeatedly with a stun gun.

“I wish he was here right now. I wish he didn’t do this,” Mearkle said, sobbing. “I didn’t want to have to shoot him, but he made me.”

The encounter was captured on video by a camera attached to Mearkle’s stun gun. The footage, which was played to jurors, showed the 37-year-old officer shocking Kassick before shooting him twice in the back as he lay face down in the snow in February.

In the video, Kassick’s hands repeatedly disappeared underneath his body as Mearkle screamed at him to keep them where she could see them and then fired the fatal shots. The trial judge has ordered that the video not be released to the public until there is a verdict.

The encounter began when Mearkle attempted to pull over Kassick after noticing an expired inspection sticker on his sedan. She pursued him to Kassick’s sister’s home, where he had been living, and he ran to the backyard.

Mearkle caught up to him in the yard. She said she was convinced he had a gun in his jacket and was reaching for it.

“There was no other reason for him to reach in his freaking jacket,” Mearkle said. “What else was I supposed to think he’s reaching for?”

She described an intense scene in which dispatchers were talking to her by radio and Kassick’s brother was yelling at her to stop shocking the 59-year-old with the stun gun.

The two gunshots were a few seconds apart. Mearkle administered CPR as others arrived.

In tears, Mearkle said: “This is horrible for me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

It’s not clear why Kassick fled, but investigators recovered a syringe by his body and prosecutors have said alcohol and unspecified drugs were in his system.

Mearkle has been on unpaid suspension since her arrest and is currently out on bail. In addition to third-degree murder, she is charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

She testified she hopes to return to police work.

“I’m a good police officer,” she told jurors. “This should not have happened to me.”

Does anyone who isn’t a law enforcement officer believe that this defense – “There was no other reason for him to reach in his freaking jacket” … “What else was I supposed to think he’s reaching for?” – would or should be successful for himself if he shot a man in the back?  And what goes for you goes for the police, so says the Supreme Court ruling in Tennessee Versus Garner.

Leaving aside my disagreement with the so-called war on drugs, let’s discuss for a moment acceptable outcomes of this exchange.  If would have been acceptable for her to have shot him if he had turned and assaulted her or threatened too, weapon or not.  It might have been acceptable for her to have shot him had he stopped, turned, and quickly reached into his pants or coat and pulled out a pencil or pen (I’d have to see the video).  It would have been acceptable for her to have hosed him down with OC spray.

It certainly would have been acceptable for her to have let him escape, thus avoiding taking his life.  After all, she knew at that point she had access to a relative, and police investigators just love to do their jobs and find people wanted by the police.  He would eventually have been apprehended.  In fact, not only would this outcome have been acceptable, it would have been the most peaceful and wisest course of action.

But it is not acceptable for a cop to shoot a man in the back who is running away.  And thus do we have yet another sad, disgusting installment of losing the mandate of heaven.  And cops wonder why people mistrust them?

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  1. On November 5, 2015 at 8:02 am, f.t. said:

    Any officer can say that about anyone they have an encounter with. No reasonable reason to suspect a weapon yet they just shoot, just in case the suspect “MAY” have a weapon.
    She murdered the guy and deserves to pay the price. Enough of cops who are so afraid of the people they encounter that their common sense and training goes out the window and they just panic and grab the gun. I think some cops are really cowards hiding behind the badge and gun.
    Same as the low life cops that shoot dogs when it is not necessary at all. They have pepper spray on their belts which works almost 100% of the time on aggressive dogs if applied properly but so many cops would rather risk hitting an innocent person from a erratic round or they tramatize children when they shoot the family pet in front of the kids. No excuse at all.
    The National Police Chiefs Association is soon releasing training guidelines for police to use in dog incident, which doesn’t call for negligent use of a firearm that endangers people.
    I’ve seen a video of a cop shooting a dog that was coming up to him wagging its tail. It enraged me.

  2. On November 5, 2015 at 10:30 am, Anonymous said:

    Soldiers would be in Leavenworth if they executed their duty that way in a war zone.

  3. On November 5, 2015 at 8:32 am, MadMagyar said:

    What this idiot deserves is merely to have the same thing done to her as she did to her victim.

  4. On November 5, 2015 at 1:08 pm, DAN III said:

    What this murderer deserves is merely to have the same thing done to her as she did to her victim.
    There, fixed it for you.

  5. On November 5, 2015 at 8:58 am, Fred said:

    The officer says “This is horrible for me…” and “This should not have happened to me.”
    A man is dead. unarmed, Shot in the back. How very terrible for her. The “mandate of heaven” lost indeed!

  6. On November 5, 2015 at 10:13 am, Anonymous said:

    Denial of personal responsibility, which is what progressives want, got her here. She felt just being reactive, following a “process,” to shooting something (somebody, in this case) was the right thing to do and how she should be as a cop. Wrong answer, lady. Lack of “ownership” for her actions with deadly force is why the dumbass perp is dead and she’s on trial (probably to go to prison).

  7. On November 5, 2015 at 10:56 am, Sean said:

    I’ll wager the jury will let it slide and she will be acquitted. I think we, on this side (liberty) of the political spectrum, underestimate the slavish devotion to the state that most of our fellow citizens exhibit on a daily basis. I hope I’m wrong….but that’s not the way to bet.

  8. On November 5, 2015 at 1:07 pm, DAN III said:

    It is quite simple. There….

  9. On November 5, 2015 at 1:07 pm, TexTopCat said:

    Exactly why we have juries to make the call.

  10. On November 5, 2015 at 1:46 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Except that there are very few that truly understand the jury’s responsibilities. And the magic-black-robed ones lie to juries regularly, with impunity. And don’t even get me started on jury nullification…

  11. On November 5, 2015 at 1:49 pm, TexTopCat said:

    The jury system is not perfect. It just seems to be the best that anyone has come up with yet.

  12. On November 5, 2015 at 8:41 pm, Dana King said:

    I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Our courts and system of laws have become sickeningly corrupt. At one time that may have been true, when citizens knew what being a citizen meant. Today the vast majority of citizens behave and think like slaves.

  13. On November 6, 2015 at 8:27 am, TexTopCat said:

    I understand your statement and certainly think we have a big problem, especially in the places of learning where the instructors have lost the meaning of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I do have high hopes that it has gotten bad enough that people at the local level will start taking back their cities and states. And if the elections are close to fair we may improve our lot at the federal level in 2016

  14. On November 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Well, so much for trusting this jury…

  15. On November 7, 2015 at 2:46 am, DAN III said:


    Hahahahahaha….you’re drinking the Kool-Aid !

    I spent tens of thousands of dollars as plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit. The jury ruled in my favor. I won ! Or so I thought. The .gov appealed to the Bill Clinton appointed stooge judge. He THREW OUT the jury verdict ! More money, more time and an appeal to 3d Circuit. 2-1 they ruled against me and in support of their fellow Democrat scoundrel. BTW….the two judges on 3d Circuit who ruled against me were Dems from NY. The dissenting judge was a ‘pub from PA.

    Juries and the court system….it is broken. And you Topcat know nothing about the court system and how it is rigged to protect .gov.

  16. On November 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm, TexTopCat said:

    I 100% agree that our legal system makes mistakes and many of the players are corrupt. However, I think the problem is the people that we have elected and not the system that is the problem.

  17. On November 13, 2015 at 9:24 am, DAN III said:

    Topcat sir….fedgov judges are not elected. They are appointed….FOR LIFE !

    Regarding the electorate ? I agree with you on those who are elected. The people are the problem there. But since 1947 we have had the 4th branch of fedgov….agencies like EPA who wield immense power accountable to no one.

  18. On November 13, 2015 at 9:30 am, TexTopCat said:

    I agree, The point is that the people that we elect do the appointing and by the fact that you pointed out “appointed for life” it will be a long and hard task to change.
    These agencies like EPA, IRS, BLM, … all need to be brought under control. Their heads can be directly replaced and policies directly changed by the President (with approval from congress)

  19. On November 15, 2015 at 2:55 am, DAN III said:


    The only “control” of the alphabet agencies I would endorse, is their total elimination.

  20. On November 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Holy shit, the pigs “fears” don’t even have to be rational or they can be based solely in fantasy at this point.

  21. On November 5, 2015 at 6:10 pm, Travis Lee said:

    He got zapped with a taser, and he’s reaching inside his jacket for…..?

    If that’s not reason enough to shoot him dead, I don’t know what is.

    If you are confronted by a cop, this is a bad time to be making fast moves with your hands.

  22. On November 5, 2015 at 8:43 pm, Dana King said:

    So you’re saying I better be able to draw quicker than a cop or else I’ll be dead?

  23. On November 5, 2015 at 9:59 pm, tkdkerry said:

    I think he’s saying you have the responsibility to get tasered and still have your wits about you with perfect motor control. Don’t grab your chest because you can’t breathe, or twitch because you’re stunned. Do that and you’re dead meat.

  24. On November 6, 2015 at 6:14 pm, Travis Lee said:

    If you’re drawing down on a cop, yes, you’d better be faster.

    Personally, I would carefully consider that beforehand, but that’s just me.

  25. On November 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm, unclezip said:

    Do you actually go back and read the drivel you spout?

  26. On November 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm, Travis Lee said:

    Do whatever you want, zippy.

    If you think making fast moves with your hands inside your jacket, when confronted by a hyped up, armed cop, is the way to go, DO IT!

  27. On November 7, 2015 at 2:49 am, DAN III said:

    Hey zip….what drivel are you referring to, other than your own drivel ?

  28. On November 6, 2015 at 3:05 pm, Archer said:

    He’s lying on his front. How do you know he’s reaching inside his jacket?

    Y’know, instead of — and I’m just throwing this out there — pulling his hands underneath his body weight so he can push himself up?

    And assuming it’s a tazer instead of an actual “stun gun” (there is a difference, and I’ve never seen or heard of a cop carrying a stun gun), if he already had the tazer barbs sticking in him, why did she need to go for the gun? Couldn’t she just have zapped him again?

    Absent other information (that hasn’t been released yet), there was no justification for shooting him.

  29. On November 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Almost not worth responding because it isn’t serious. A man is exhausted, he’s running, he’s turned around backwards to you, he’s been hit with barbs, he’s probably in some degree of pain, and now … yes, unbelievable … he has the presence of mind to reach inside for a gun to turn and kill you! More likely, he’s clutching his heart, grabbing his stomach, or convulsing.

  30. On November 6, 2015 at 5:20 am, Roger V. Tranfaglia said:

    Anndd jury says…….NOT GUILTY! She is taking into another career path. I wonder if Mr. Johannes Mehserle is gainfully employed today? (Fruitvale Station, Oakland CA…2009)

  31. On November 6, 2015 at 11:24 am, Bobbye said:

    http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Cop-who-fatally-shot-motorist-in-back-cleared-of-6613275.php It could not be any other way.

  32. On November 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    I saw this video. It is disturbing. She keeps screaming hysterically to ” get on the ground” all the while he IS on the ground. She tasers him repeatedly screaming for him to get on the ground of which he is there the whole time. Then she shoots him twice in the back. A plain execution. She will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published November 4th, 2015 by Herschel Smith.

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