Kevin Sneed Acquitted Of ‘Attempted Murder’ Of Maryland Cop Who Jumped Into His Car [Corrected]

Illustration for article titled Kevin Sneed Acquitted of 'Attempted Murder' of Maryland Cop Who Jumped Into His Car [Corrected]

Kevin Sneed of Prince George’s County, Maryland was pulled over for a bro­ken tail­light. He end­ed up with an attempt­ed mur­der charge. But after a two-year bat­tle, and with help from advo­ca­cy groups Life After Release, and Black Lives Matter DC, Mr. Sneed can con­tin­ue being a free man. Sometimes the jus­tice sys­tem gets it right.
According to NBC Washington 4 the offi­cer on duty wrote in his report that there was a “rob­bery in the imme­di­ate vicin­i­ty the pre­vi­ous night.” The offi­cer claimed Sneed accel­er­at­ed when the offi­cer tried to pull him over for the bro­ken tail­light and feared Sneed might’ve had a gun on him because black man + attempt­ed rob­bery the night before = this black man must be the rob­ber from last night, armed, and dan­ger­ous. Of course, Sneed was sim­ply Driving While Black. While full details haven’t yet been report­ed, we know that the offi­cer jumped into the driver’s side win­dow imme­di­ate­ly after Sneed stopped his car.

After search­ing the vehi­cle, no guns or drugs were found in Sneed’s pos­ses­sion. Sneed was left bruised; beat­en by the arrest­ing cop. Yet Sneed was charged with attempt­ed mur­der of an offi­cer. “They told me no bond and they told me what I was actu­al­ly charged with,” Sneed told NBC. “I said, ‘Just let me go to my cell.’” Understandably, the two-year bat­tle that ensued took an emo­tion­al and psy­cho­log­i­cal toll on Sneed, who main­tained his inno­cence through­out the mat­ter. “He felt like he didn’t even want to live,” said his moth­er, Kema Harris. Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy said she inher­it­ed the case from the pre­vi­ous state’s attor­ney. Her office deter­mined the case had mer­it, and decid­ed to pros­e­cute, but with the reduced charges of sec­ond-degree assault and dis­or­der­ly con­duct rather than attempt­ed mur­der. Sneed was offered a tempt­ing plea deal: no jail time if he’d admit guilt to these less­er charges.
“At the end of the day,” Sneed said, “I would be a fool to take it and then they play with my life.” Sneed knew the his­to­ry of cor­rupt jus­tice sys­tems that loom over both the inno­cent and the guilty. Many times peo­ple who can’t afford to mount a prop­er legal defense end up tak­ing plea deals for crimes they’re inno­cent of, then face reper­cus­sions that fol­low them for a life­time. Sneed and his moth­er even­tu­al­ly got help from the activist group Life After Release, which in turn involved Black Lives Matter DC to assist in retain­ing a new legal defense team.
“We were able to get a Black Lives Matter sup­port fund for Kevin’s defense and get him away from pub­lic defend­ers who didn’t have his best inter­est,” Black Lives Matter Core Organizer Née Née Taylor said to NBC. After a two-day tri­al, a jury found Sneed not guilty on all charges Wednesday, a vic­to­ry that Kevin Sneed does not take light­ly. “If you did not do any­thing wrong, fight for your life,” Mr. Sneed declared.

Correction: 5/​5/​19, 1:37 p.m. ET:

Following ini­tial reports, one of Mr. Sneed’s lawyers, Brandon Burrell, con­tact­ed The Root to dis­pute claims quot­ed by Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy to NBC Washington 4. Burrell also gave addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion prov­ing the cor­rup­tion of the case itself, as a gun was plant­ed by police in attempt to fur­ther frame Mr. Sneed. Burrell clar­i­fies:

It is inac­cu­rate that the pros­e­cu­tor “reduced” any of the charges. The grand jury didn’t find prob­a­ble cause of attempt­ed first-degree mur­der, so after the indict­ment, his charges were first-degree assault, sec­ond-degree assault, resist­ing arrest, dis­or­der­ly con­duct, gun charges, and var­i­ous traf­fic cita­tions. The appear­ance of a gun a week after his arrest, and after he was searched was incred­i­bly sus­pi­cious. The gun was also found in the back­seat of the cruis­er, but Sneed was placed in the front seat of the cruis­er. The pros­e­cu­tor had no choice but to dis­miss the charges relat­ed to the gun the first day of tri­al, because of the indi­cia that it was plant­ed by the police. When the tri­al began Sneed was then tried on first-degree assault, sec­ond-degree assault, resist­ing arrest, and dis­or­der­ly con­duct. It was clear dur­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny of the ini­tial offi­cer that Sneed was racial­ly pro­filed. One of the rea­sons for the stop was because of a rob­bery the night before in that loca­tion, but there was absolute­ly no cor­re­la­tion to that and Mr. Sneed. The offi­cer wasn’t even involved in the rob­bery inves­ti­ga­tion.

This sto­ry orig­i­nat­ed @ the root​.com