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Cop Who Shot Woman Holding a Baby Acquitted

Cop who shot woman holding a baby acquitted

AP
August 5, 2008

A white police officer was acquitted Monday in the drug-raid shooting death of an unarmed black woman that set off protests about how police treat minorities in a city where one in four residents is black.

The all-white jury found Sgt. Joseph Chavalia not guilty of misdemeanor charges of negligent homicide and negligent assault. He had faced up to eight months in jail if convicted of both counts.

Chavalia shot 26-year-old Tarika Wilson and her year-old son she was holding, killing her and hitting him in the shoulder and hand, during a Jan. 4 SWAT raid on her house. One of the child’s fingers had to be amputated.

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Woman was on her knees holding a baby while shot in the neck by a cop

AP
July 31, 2008

A woman shot and killed by a police officer during a drug raid was likely on her knees and complying with a SWAT team’s orders to get down when she was hit in the neck and chest, two experts testified Wednesday at the officer’s trial.

A forensic pathologist and firearms expert each said that bullet wounds indicate that Tarika Wilson, 26, wasn’t standing.

Sgt. Joseph Chavalia has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide and negligent assault. He faces up to eight months in jail if convicted of both counts.

Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday. Defense testimony will begin today.

The shooting during a drug raid in January set off protests and debate about race relations in the city, where one in four residents is black.

Wilson, who was black, was unarmed and holding her 1-year-old son when she was shot. The boy also was hit and had a finger amputated.

She was partially behind a door in an upstairs bedroom with her five other children when officers downstairs began shooting at two pit bulls.

Chavalia, who is white, told another officer that he thought the shots were coming from the bedroom.

“I said, ’Joe, what happened?’ ” testified Lt. Chip Protsman, the commander of the SWAT team. “He said, ’They were firing at me from the bedroom, and I shot back.’ ”

Protsman said he found Chavalia alone in the middle of the hallway while other officers were running into the bedroom.

Chavalia was coming up a stairway when he shot Wilson.

Eleven officers raided the house on Jan. 4 looking for her boyfriend, Anthony Terry. He was arrested and pleaded guilty in March to charges of drug trafficking.