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Teen’s Family Meets With State’s Attorney Over Accused Officer’s Manslaughter Charges

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — A Baltimore County police officer is in court, accused of killing 17-year-old Christopher Brown in an argument. The teen’s family continues to call for tougher charges in the case.

Mike Hellgren has the latest developments.

This has been an agonizing few months for Christopher Brown’s family. They have been vocal in the past but were silent Tuesday.

The mother of Christopher Brown met privately with Baltimore County’s top prosecutor over concerns police officer James Laboard, who’s accused in her son’s death, is getting preferential treatment and should have been charged with murder rather than less serious voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges.

“The family believes that the state’s attorney, based upon whatever information that it has and is relying upon, they’re going to do their very best with what they have. They’re going to be very patient and they’re going to allow them and allow the judicial process to take its course,” said Russell Neverdon, the family’s lawyer.

Brown died two months ago. He lived around the corner from the officer in Randallstown. Police say Laboard thought Brown was throwing rocks at his front door, so he chased him down, found him hiding in some bushes and confronted him. Brown died of asphyxiation.

The meeting with Brown’s mom follows days of protests outside the State’s Attorney’s Office. He has maintained manslaughter is appropriate and the case has been handled fairly.

“I want to assure everyone that this case was treated just as any other case would be treated. Generally, manslaughter is doing an act in basically a grossly negligent manner,” said Scott Shellenberger, State’s Attorney.

Laboard also appeared in court. His trial has been set for December and Judge Jan Alexander will hear the case.

“We don’t want to do anything or say anything that will impede in their process to bring this situation to a close once and for all,” Neverdon said.

Laboard is free on his own recognizance until the trial begins on Dec. 11.

Brown’s family is also advocating for better training for officers on their use of force.

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