Attorneys For Cop Killer Say He Didn't Murder Cop, But 'Drove Away From Danger'

Attorneys for Dawnta Harris claimed the cop killer was a "puny" child who didn't intend to kill Officer Caprio.

Baltimore, MD – Attorneys for the 16 year old who murdered Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio on Monday called on the state’s attorney’s office to release the fallen officer’s bodycam footage at a press conference on Thursday.

Warren Brown and J. Wyndal Gordon flanked the killer’s sobbing mother and told reporters that Officer Caprio’s murder had been an “accident.”

“This was not an intentional killing. It was not deliberate. It was not premeditated. This was an accident. And that’s how we feel about it,” Gordon said.

The attorneys for Dawnta Harris said their client had no motive to run down Officer Caprio, despite the fact that Harris was violating his house arrest and driving a stolen Jeep Wrangler as a getaway car while his friends committed burglaries nearby when he was stopped.

His lawyers said he didn’t know that what his friends were doing.

“People are making a lot of assumptions,” Brown said at the press conference. “They’re assuming that this young man stole the car, and they’re assuming that he drove it from Baltimore… They’re assuming he knew that the three that got out of the car were going to burglarize a home.”

Harris told detectives that he didn’t know his friends were committing a burglary, and he gave police the names and addresses of the other three suspects when asked, his attorney said.

“So if he’s going to be truthful and honest about that, why can’t we trust the other things he’s had to say?” Brown asked.

Police said Officer Caprio had been dispatched to a call about a suspicious vehicle on May 21 when she encountered Harris in the stolen Jeep.

Court documents said that Harris admitted to investigators that he was driving a Jeep Wrangler, and that he was waiting in the vehicle while Genius, Matthews, and Ward committed a residential burglary.

Harris said he attempted to flee, but ended up in a cul-de-sac.

Officer Caprio pursued him, then exited her patrol vehicle and demanded that Harris get out of the Jeep, court documents said.

Harris said he opened the driver’s door partway, but that he closed the door again, and “drove at the officer,” the report read.

Bodycam footage showed that Officer Caprio fired her duty weapon at her attacker, just before he fatally struck her with the vehicle, police said. Harris then fled the scene.

His attorneys maintained that he didn’t mean to kill the officer.

“He drove away from danger… they make it sound like he drove at her,” Brown complained.

He insisted Harris had no propensity for violence in his background and that it’s a mischaracterization to say that he “murdered” Officer Caprio because he was just trying to get away because he was afraid.

“There wasn’t any intention on his part to strike the officer,” Brown told reporters.

“It’s not to say that he should be patted on the back for that. But I think we need to put things in the correct perspective - he ain’t a killa’. He’s a kid that panicked when a gun was put in his face,” the attorney maintained.

Brown said that it was wrong of people to be critical of the way Harris responded when he was confronted with the officer’s gun.

Harris was charged as an adult with first-degree murder, and is being held without bond at the Baltimore County Detention Center, according to the department.

All three of his friends were arrested the next day. Police used Officer Caprio’s handcuffs to make all four arrests.

Attorneys for Harris told reporters at the press conference that the incident was being grossly mischaracterized.

“We’re calling for the state’s attorney and the police department to release the bodycam footage. It should speak for itself,” Brown said. “I think it will put a lot of misconceptions to rest.”

The attorneys repeatedly claimed Officer Caprio had no probable cause to stop Harris while he was driving a stolen vehicle.

“Forget about the optics. Forget about all the elements that makes this case dramatic and ones that people cry out for. We want to know what was in the officer’s mind at the moment she deployed deadly force. What probable cause did she have to believe that this person was going to harm to her or some other individual in this residential district?” Gordon asked.

(Editor's Note: Probable cause is not required to make a traffic stop, although the officer did have probable cause because the vehicle was stolen.)

Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said on Tuesday that the video of of officer's violent murder will not be released, WJZ reported.

Gordon said it was their opinion that everything that happened after Officer Caprio stopped Harris was a moot point if the stop wasn’t righteous.

“Maybe the evidence that flowed from the bad stop is suppressible? And then what do you have?” Gordon asked.

Brown described his client as “a child,” and said he couldn’t even call him a “young man” because he’d only turned 16 in January and was really more of a 15 year old.

“This was an extremely tragic accident. And it’s not lost on any of us out here that a police officer lost her life in the line of duty. It’s not lost on any of us,” Gordon said.

“But we want to know why Officer Caprio felt it necessary to draw her weapon on a 16-year-old child,” the attorney asked. “We want to know why this was necessary.”

“When you see this young man, he’s a puny five-foot-one, 120-pound young man. You automatically know you’re dealing with a child and not an adult,” Gordon insisted.

At the time Harris encountered Officer Caprio, he was in violation of house arrest for a string of four car thefts that he was arrested for between December and March.

Maryland Secretary of Juvenile Services Sam Abed said in a press conference earlier this week that Harris never should have been released on electronic monitoring, and left the blame squarely at the feet of the prosecutors, WBAL reported.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby fired back at Abed with her own press conference and said she was “more than appalled, disheartened, and perplexed” by his comments.

Mosby blamed Juvenile Services for the fact that Harris had been in a position to kill the young police officer, since their agency was responsible for monitoring him on house arrest.

Attorneys for Harris said at the press conference that his mother, Tamika Wilson, had done everything possible to control her son and have him detained.

Wilson said the state failed her child when they released him, and that she had wanted him locked up because she was trying to “break the cycle.” She blamed his public defender for requesting his release.

“The judge sent him home on community detention so here we are,” Wilson sobbed to reporters. “I mean, this is my son. Can nobody understand?”

She said her son was not the man the media are painting him to be.

“I see my son’s mugshot – it’s on everywhere… my condolences to the family of the officer. This is just so wrong. If they would have kept him, we wouldn’t be here,” Wilson said.

Comments (67)
No. 1-50
Awesomenana
Awesomenana

SCREW THIS BITCH AND HER RACE BAITING ATTORNEYS!!! I PRAY YOUR SON GETS THE DAMN DEATH PENALTY!!! YOUR SON IS A PIECE OF SHIT THUG!! TAKE YOUR FAKE ASS TEARS ON CAUSE WE DONT GIVE A FAT RATS ASS!!! YOU FAILED YOUR SON

Betts122
Betts122

Poor little puny boy who only weighs 120 pounds and is more "15 years old than 16 years old" ! Really! Really! He just got scared and ran.......bull shit! And "he didn't know his friends were burgularizing a home. This is the biggest cock and bull story I have heard in a long time. It's called " my baby didn't kill that cop" ! You just watch.....this punk wiil get out of the murder charge. This BS story is the same with all these kids . They think just because their black they should be excused of their crimes.

LEO0301
LEO0301

Anyone who's been a police officer working a black neighborhood has heard the excuse, "I was afraid" when asked why they ran. Of course you're afraid - you just committed a (fill in the blank). As far as this attorney in concerned, it's an embarrassment to the black race when you paint yourself a victim after killing an innocent person. It makes you sound like the voice of the black race, Shawn King.

Marxest
Marxest

Wow, of course! A single mother! Where's the father? Somewhere else. She couldn't reign in her son and raise him to know and understand right and wrong and the rule of law. These dumb women, they choose to have kids with these "thugs and bad boys" who don't care too much for them, he soon tires and leaves. The rejected and often neglected kid grows into a criminal and has run ins with the law. Way too common. It's a sad reality.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

My prediction (admittedly could turn out wrong):. It will be a plea bargain in all cases so that the police do not have to release the video.

Heezels
Heezels

This is disappointing. There’s the element of the case that the boy is not lying that he was scared. But again, if the article is true that Officer Caprio did have probable cause to pull her weapon the. She was justified in doing so. On top of this, the fact that he did flee the scene of the crime, which is suspicious if he didn’t know that he was doing anything wrong or that he was even driving a stolen vehicle. Something about this just doesn’t seem right on his defense. He’s definitely aware of the trouble he was in. He knew he was on house arrest. At the very least you can make the claim that he’s was afraid of getting caught for being caught outside of where he’s supposed to be.

But there is motive here. And it doesn’t look good that he opened and closed his door, and that he admitted to driving toward the officer. I do believe in innocent until proven guilty. I don’t think the officer did anything wrong. But I also don’t think the kid wanted to kill her. Perhaps maybe he thought she’d move. Perhaps he made a series of bad calls, and the stress of wanting get out of the scenario, or the stress of the idea that the police will shoot him made him risk it all.

I think that if you think he was afraid of being shot wrongfully. The overemphasis of the narrative of wrongful shootings is just as much to blame as the perceived lack of accountability.

Gena1020
Gena1020

You can not raise a child and make excuses for their actions. The boy had already comitted other crimes when he stole 4 cars. This mother needs a shrink blaming it on the sysyem for not monitoring him. That is your responsibility mam!

MiguelDominguez
MiguelDominguez

Somebody please tell me that there is no jury on this planet who buys this load of crap.

Heezels
Heezels

There are also a number of reasons body cam Footage might not be released to the public. Especially if it’s during a trial. But it could be plea bargain to not release the video because it could paint public perception more negatively toward one party over another. Which could make the appeal process much more difficult for one party over another.

The lawyer also could be doing his own public relations magic by saying the police should release the footage, and painting them as the side with something to hide. He knows they won’t release it during and investigation or trial. And definitely not while the prosecution is building a case. That isn’t to say the department couldn’t be hiding something, but it also could be a desperation move to try and win over the public before the trial.

Det_John_Kimble
Det_John_Kimble

Yes, once again here we go minimizing a murder, another dindoonuffin out having fun in a stolen ride running over a cop. Probably was heading to college next year for a physics degree. Coulda been Obama's son. Your kid doesn't go from being a "puny child" that never did anything wrong to driving a stolen vehicle running from the cops and killing one in the process. There's always a progression. Might start off with simple shoplifting. And some light drug usage. Then move up to pick pocketing or simple burglary, of a dwelling or vehicle. Then to actually stealing the cars and robbing people at gun point. At some point they get to a point where what they're doing is far more important than public safety in general and anyone's life that gets in their way. I believe he was scare. Scared to go to prison, so someone has to die so I don't go to prison. Now he and his buds are gonna really serve some hard time, probably be tried as an adult and get 25 to life. Oh and just for the trolls, this isn't just young black kids, whites, Hispanics and everyone else's race has people playing this game. Percentages don't do some races much justice but regardless, the crimes usually trend up this way.

prophetess anna
prophetess anna

if a person, gets into a vehicle, and drives at you, thus striking you down, AND KILLING YOU, THAT IS NOT PREMEDITATED MURDER--THEN WHAT THE HELL IS IT???? THEY KILLED AN OFFICER AND THEY SHOULD PAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fbc28277
Fbc28277

Seriously?

Logic Required
Logic Required

So she couldn’t of thought it was reasonable that he would run her over and kill her so shouldn’t of pulled her gun? Are they forgetting that she DID get run over and WAS killed? The hell ?

Logic Required
Logic Required

So she couldn’t of thought it was reasonable that he would run her over and kill her so shouldn’t of pulled her gun? Are they forgetting that she DID get run over and WAS killed? The hell ?

ragnarok1943
ragnarok1943

It's Baltimore. He'll probably get away with it and sue the dead officer for getting in his way.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

If they want maximal penalties then they will have to be willing to take it to trial and release the vid. If they are not willing to "go to the mat" (and have the vid released, then there is probably a reason for that. We will have to wait and see.

Logic Required
Logic Required

They’ll give it a while to release it at least to give time for the family to grieve before their daughters / wife’s murder is played out for the world to see I reckon

mcsd1106
mcsd1106

I have zero hope for justice in Baltimore. Shame on you Baltimore for making thugs heroes and the Police villains.

Lawdawg58*
Lawdawg58*

An eye for an eye. Run his skinny little ass over. He knew the vehicle was stolen and he knew what his buddies were doing. He ran her doen because he did not want to get caught. This innocent bs game he is playing is crap. And his attorney is about as stupid as they come. How does he plan to find out this officera thought process when his client murdered her. To many officers are getting murdered, to many are claiming one reason or another why it isnt their fault

rover77
rover77

he didn't do nuffin...he's a good boy just trying to turn his life around .....expect T shirts, marches , candle lit vigils and go fund me campaign

TrueBlue61
TrueBlue61

So the lawyers dare to question why she made contact with him while he is up to his ears in the commission of several felonies? Before the poor woman is even buried? The lowest of scum could look down on these losers.... so indecent.

Tinman983
Tinman983

This woman bred this lying scum. She is lying scum. Her lawyers are lying scum.

Mrs10
Mrs10

In my state if you are driving the get-a-way car (as they making this “kid” out to be) and someone OUTSIDE the vehicle kills someone, you (the driver) will ALSO be charged with murder. I believe it’s called “murder in the commission of a crime” or close to that.

If that’s the case, how much MORE clarity is needed in the charges when he’s in charge of the MURDER WEAPON?!

Mrs10
Mrs10

I already addressed this to you in a previous post. The video is EVIDENCE in a murder trial. No one outside the judicial process will see it until the jury does. It’s not a cover-up, it’s called chain of evidence and due-process

Mrs10
Mrs10

From reading the story it looks like the attorneys are absolute scum but the mom at least TRIED to do something. She’s quoted as saying she wanted to “end the cycle” and that she was the one to turn her son in at one point. Unfortunately it seems the system also failed him - and by extension this poor officer. Of course, it IS Baltimore. We shouldn’t be too surprised. Sad in so many many ways.

Mrs10
Mrs10

From reading the story it looks like the attorneys are absolute scum but the mom at least TRIED to do something. She’s quoted as saying she wanted to “end the cycle” and that she was the one to turn her son in at one point. Unfortunately it seems the system also failed him - and by extension this poor officer. Of course, it IS Baltimore. We shouldn’t be too surprised. Sad in so many many ways.

Jsmoe
Jsmoe

You clearly do not know how a trial works. They will not release the video until after the trial it has nothing to do with hiding something. You don’t disclose evidence until you’ve already presented it in court

Sherb13
Sherb13

The mother is right that the state failed her son by releasing him.

Albaby
Albaby

Blacks have excuses for everything. They din fo nuffin. He din no they was burglarizing dat house etc

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Roll tape -- then we can decide what he is guilty of.

Oaklady
Oaklady

"She ran at the Jeep and jumped in front of the tire! Swear to God, Mom, I'm innocent!"

RunCop
RunCop

Just an animal thug doing what animal thugs do!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Let's be clear: they could release the video right now if they wanted to. Releasing it would not cause a chain of custody problem, and viewing the video now would not render a citizen ineligible for a criminal jury later. Also, the decision not to release it now is not motivated by a desire to safeguard the rights and prerogatives of the defendants. They are not releasing it for the same reason that police did not release the Brailsford video until after the trial -- whatever is on it makes police look bad -- so they delay release as long as possible. If they do plea bargains then they might try to get away with never releasing it. The idea that there is some noble motivation preventing release is (pardon my French here) BUNK!

MKD23
MKD23

🤬 RIP Officer Caprio. Thank you for your dedication and service. May justice prevail. #backtheblue

jakesj40
jakesj40

If the gun was pointed in his face than he should have heard the police officers order to leave the vehicle. Lying lawyers like these should be disbarred.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Well, let's wait for the video(s) to be released before we decide who is lying and who is telling the truth.

Pat1978
Pat1978

Burgers Allday the legal expert...

Derun
Derun

So let me get this straight. A 16 year old who has a history of stealing cars, was in a stolen car with three friends while he was supposed to be on house arrest. These three friends ironically needed to get out of the car at a random house and he had no idea what they were doing? Then when confronted by an officer in a clearly marked vehicle and in uniform, he tries to flee the scene of the (supposedly unknown about) crime. Resulting in his killing an officer of the law. Yeah that nice little heartbreaking story has so many holes I could use it for swiss cheese! Let's count the ways he broke the laws...

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

No!! Momma you are to blame for raising a lying thug!!

rdesett
rdesett

Wow i read what mom and lawyer said and it is so unreal that anyone would say this is the truth. I agree black live matter as white lives blue lives yellow live. I am retire nycpd my partner was shot and killed! he was Black n a policeofficer. He was shot by the blacks who didn't c blackman white man all they saw was A NYCPD BLUE MAN! we worked in Bushwick Brooklyn in the 70s days before he was killed he told men as we were patrolling the area at 6am look at these people they r sweeping and cleaning to make their area better. He said but people don't c them they only see the scum that rises to top and kills and robs etc. I bet u the kid and his lawyer and mom and BLACK Lives Matter don't clean their areas! They are what Joe Called The SCUM THAT RISES TO THE TOP!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

"How about not releasing it out of respect for the fallen officer's family? Didja think about that one?" Not a relevant consideration when talking about hugely important evidence in a criminal case. Harsh, but important to understand.

2bchew
2bchew

Could somebody please explain to me why these idiots keep saying the "kid" is puny?What difference does that make when his weapon of choice weighed 3000 lbs!!!!!!

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Burgers Allday….LOL I think you said something very similar about releasing the video evidence with the Shaun "I'm a lying white man pretending to be black" King rape allegation against the officer who arrested the black woman for DUI. How did that work out for you? Would you like to bet on the outcome of this one?

Webster82
Webster82

@Sherb13 The mother is WRONG! SHE failed her son!

MadMaxxx
MadMaxxx

I am not surprised that this Attorney is trying to put all of the blame on Officer Caprio who for obvious reasons cannot defend herself now.

shava1
shava1

NO, your son should have been abiding by the law, it's that simple..

Linsbosi
Linsbosi

All I can say about this lawyers line of BS is pass the bucket I am gonna be sick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!