Reporting Meghan McCorkell
RANDALLSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — Officer charged! The Baltimore County police officer accused of killing a teenager now faces manslaughter charges, but the teen’s family says it’s not enough.
Meghan McCorkell has reaction to the controversial charges.
Officer James Laboard was released on his own recognizance Wednesday after he was charged with manslaughter, charges the family of 17-year-old Christopher Brown call a slap in the face.
Ten years. That’s how long Officer James Laboard could spend behind bars. He’s charged with manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Brown. Brown’s family wanted a murder charge.
“This is definitely what I thought they were going to do, to rush something along to quiet up everyone and to say, `You know what, let’s give them something,’” said Brown’s mother, Chris.
Police say Officer Laboard chased Brown after he thought the teen threw a rock at his door. During an altercation, Brown was asphyxiated and died.
“You pull him out of the bushes and you strangle him to death and that’s the kind of charges you’re going to bring against him?” said Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, National Action Network.
County law enforcement says even though Laboard is an officer, this case was treated like any other.
“The fact that Laboard was an off-duty police officer had no bearing on the time it took to evaluate the evidence and to move this case forward,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.
Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson echoed that statement, saying, “This is, in fact, a difficult day for the Baltimore County police department and a tragic one for everyone involved.”
The chief says he promised the Brown family a thorough investigation, which resulted in the charges.
“Police officers are not above the law that they are empowered to enforce,” said Johnson.
Civil rights leaders aren’t buying it.
“Had I done that…I would have been long arrested,” Cheatham said.
They’re planning a march to fight for justice for Christopher Brown.
Brown’s family is now calling for an external investigation of his case.
An attorney for Officer Laboard has refused to comment on the case. Laboard has been suspended without pay. He will be arraigned in the next 30 to 60 days.