BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the first time, prosecutors showed jurors Officer Amy Caprio’s body-worn camera video that showed the moment a stolen Jeep ran her over. It’s some of the most crucial evidence in the trial that began Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Dawnta Harris, who was 16 at the time, was behind the wheel.
Caprio responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle after a series of robberies in Baltimore County last May. Police said Harris was the lookout and his three friends broke into houses.
In the video, Officer Caprio followed the Jeep to a cul-de-sac on Linwin Way in her police cruiser. The Jeep turned around and faced her. Caprio got out with her service weapon pointed at the Jeep. She yelled to Harris eight separate times to get out of the vehicle.
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The Jeep drove toward her and hit her. You can hear her moan in pain for several moments while bystanders rushed to help. Before she was struck, Officer Caprio fired one shot at the Jeep. Her blood then pools in front of the camera lens.
“This was a senseless, cruel, unnecessary murder,” said prosecutor Zarena Sita in her opening statement. “This is one of the few cases where you’re going to watch the murder happen on video.”
Sita called the Jeep “a 4,000-pound murder weapon.”
Harris’ high-profile defense team of J. Wyndal Gordon and Warren Brown described their client as a “child” who “panicked.” They said the incident was an accident.
“The officer threw herself in the pathway of a vehicle. There’s got to be something in the training that says you don’t place yourself in the way of a moving vehicle,” Gordon told jurors. “We’re questioning why did she pull out a weapon on a mere traffic violation. Why are you pulling out a weapon and training it on somebody’s face.”
Jurors also heard from Kirsten Roller, who called 911 to report people breaking into her neighbor’s home. She also witnessed Caprio get run down and wept on the stand.
“I noticed there was blood coming from her head,” Roller testified. “There were tire tracks on her legs. I can’t get her face out of my head.”
The trial is expected to wrap up early next week. “It’s gonna be a dogfight,” Gordon said. “He matters and I’m going to fight for him hard.”
Caprio was killed just days from her 30th birthday.
“This defendant stole Officer Caprio’s life from her,” prosecutor Sita said.