Alabama ex-cop sentenced to 14 years in prison for killing unarmed man

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A judge on Wednesday sentenced a former Alabama police officer to 14 years in prison for the 2016 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

A judge handed down the sentence to former Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith, news outlets reported. A jury in November found Smith guilty of manslaughter for the 2016 shooting death of Gregory Gunn, 58. Smith is white.

Smith shot and killed Gunn after he fled from a stop-and-frisk. The defense maintained that Smith fired in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter’s pole from a porch, but prosecutors said Gunn was never a threat. Gunn was walking home when he was stopped by Smith.

Prosecutors had charged Smith with murder. Jurors returned the guilty verdict on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The trial was moved from Montgomery to Ozark, about 85 miles away, because of publicity. News outlets reported that Smith resigned from the police department following the guilty verdict.