Chesterfield County, VA - Richmond Police Officer David Cobb was convicted on Thursday for the October 2015 shooting of 18-year-old Paterson Brown.
In 2015, Officer David Cobb was off-duty and had taken his girlfriend's car to the car wash. While Cobb was at the car wash, he was on the phone with his girlfriend. Suddenly, Paterson Brown jumped into the car. Car wash employees told Cobb that Brown didn't work there.
Fearing that the car was being stolen, Officer Cobb drew his gun and identified himself as a police officer. According to Officer Cobb's girlfriend, who was on the phone with him, Cobb repeatedly ordered Brown to "stop moving, show your hands, stop moving."
Paterson Brown then made a sudden reaching motion to his right side and Officer David Cob shot him. It was later discovered that Brown was unarmed.
The line with Officer Cobb's girlfriend disconnected and when she called him back, he was crying and said, “I just shot someone.”
Afterwards, the sleazy prosecutor's office decided to prosecute the veteran police officer for second degree murder, and they pulled out everything they could to mislead the jury. The case initially went to trial and resulted in a hung jury. At retrial, the jury convicted Officer David Cobb of voluntary manslaughter.
Chesterfield Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Melissa Hoy told the jury that, even though Officer David Cobb had identified himself as a police officer and was acting in a police officer capacity, his training and position as a police officer was not relevant to the case. Hoy also told the jury that Officer Cobb failed to utilize his police training to de-escalate the situation.
Even though a reasonable person would have assumed that they were being robbed, given the circumstances, Hoy criticized Cobb for immediately drawing his weapon rather than having a calm conversation with Brown about why he was in the car. Cobb “goes right to the gun and commands” and “doesn’t employ any of his basic training,” Hoy told the jury.
Melissa Hoy said that in the end Paterson Brown “did nothing except sit in another man’s car,” and Officer David Cobb only shot him because he was upset that Brown wouldn't get out of his girlfriend's car. Hoy seemed to push the idea that Brown was shot because Officer David Cobb was a murderous officer who wanted to kill somebody.
The defense pointed out the obvious; Officer Cobb was almost twice the size of Brown, and had he believed that Brown was unarmed, he should have easily been able to yank him out of the car.
Officer Cobb's defense also pointed out the absurdity of believing that Cobb “set up the perfect crime” by repeatedly ordering Brown to show his hands while he was surrounded by plenty of witnesses at the car wash.
Defense attorney David Baugh said, “Mr. Brown is dead because he was a threat — a reasonable threat, and he’s not compliant." Baugh also said that Brown was likely on some sort of hallucinogenic drug. Unfortunately, the criminal investigators were the only ones able to order tests on Brown's blood, and they did not test for any hallucinogens.
Hoy finished up by talking about her motivation for prosecuting the case, "We shouldn’t give him a pass because he’s a police officer. We don’t get to cloak in a badge unlawful, criminal conduct.”
Officer David Cobb appears to be a victim of the Ferguson Effect, where officers are being prosecuted because of the idea that police officers are rogue killers.
After this conviction, it's not clear what the future will hold for Officer David Cobb. After the shooting, Richmond Police Department had not taken any action against the officer besides placing him on administrative leave, no doubt because the circumstances made the shooting justified. However, the conviction may change things.
Do you think that Officer David Cobb was convicted of a justified shooting because of the Ferguson Effect? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments below.