OZARK, Ala. – Alabama cop Aaron Cody Smith's trial for fatally shooting unarmed Black man Greg Gunn in Montgomery in 2016 started this week. Today, a jury found him guilty of manslaughter. The ACLU of Alabama has the following statement:
"The ACLU of Alabama is encouraged that the jury found Aaron Smith did not act in self-defense when he shot and killed Greg Gunn, a Black man who was unarmed and walking down the street. While this cannot undo the loss suffered by Greg Gunn’s family and community, we hope it provides them with a semblance of justice.
However, a singular verdict is not a solution to the epidemic of police killings and law enforcement’s excessive use of force in Alabama. Black and brown people shouldn’t have to live in constant fear of being killed by a police officer. The recent police killings of not only Greg Gunn, but also E.J. Bradford and, most recently, Dana Sherrod, show that this isn’t just the result of one “bad apple”, but rather a symptom of our broken policing system.
The Montgomery Police Department, other law enforcement, and other government officials should take proactive steps to implement reforms that limit when and how police use lethal force and ensure that officers prioritize de-escalation. Everyone deserves to be treated with the dignity and respect that Aaron Smith denied to Greg Gunn."