A Trotwood man has been found guilty of fleeing from and trying to run over a Monroe police officer last summer at Cincinnati Premium Outlets.
The Warren County jury returned the verdict Friday afternoon following four hours of deliberation in the case against Jamarcus Levon Brown, 22. The jury found Brown guilty of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony; and assault, a fourth-degree felony. He was not convicted of felonious assault, a first-degree felony.
Brown, who pumped his fist after hearing the not guilty verdict to the more serious crime, faces up to four years in prison when sentenced by common pleas Judge James Flannery. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Brown did not testify during the two-day trial, but the jury heard his interrogation tape with Monroe Detective Gregg Myers just hours after the Aug. 3. incident that resulted in Officer Chad Caudill shooting through the windshield of Brown’s vehicle allegedly as he tried to hit Caudill.
“I didn’t run over, he jumped on the hood,” Brown said in the tape that was played for the jury. Brown was apologetic for running from Caudill, but he said was motivated by a warrant for his arrest out of Montgomery County. Brown also admitted to giving Caudill is juvenile brother’s name when the officer questioned him about a shoplifting incident at the Sunglass Hut.
Caudill, a five-year veteran of the force, told the jury that security officers pointed out Brown as a possible suspect based on a white “Gilligan style” hat the suspect was wearing in a store video.
When Brown denied any wrongdoing, Caudill said he walked with him to the store to view the video.
While Caudill was viewing the tape, Brown was caught on camera dashing out the front door.
Brown was in the gray Pontiac when Caudill caught up to him in the outlet mall’s parking lot.
“I drew my weapon and ordered him out of the car,” Caudill said, adding he stepped back to create space between Brown’s car and another vehicle and also to look at the licence plate.
Caudill said while he was looking at the licence plate he felt the car accelerate.
“I heard the vehicle accelerate, the car was pushing on my front leg … I knew there was a good chance of getting pinned under the car or another car.”
The car hit the officer’s knee causing minor pain, he testified.
Caudill said he then went up on the hood of the vehicle
Then he fired the first round, but the vehicle did not stop and began to turn into the parking lot.
Caudill said he feared for his life and others if the car continued to accelerate and fired a second time. Both shots went through the windshield, with one of them hitting Brown in the leg.
Several shoppers at the mall that day were called to the stand by both the prosecution and the defense. All were standing in different locations and had five different versions of the incident, one even said she heard three shots.
Deon Harris, a father shopping with his family, testified for the defense, and said he saw Caudill talking with Brown outside the True Religion store and described the officer’s demeanor as “aggressive like.”
“But I believe he (Caudill) was getting aggressive because he (Brown) wasn’t doing what he told him to do,” Harris said.
Minutes later he said he saw Brown run past his family, jump in a car and duck down. Caudill was in pursuit.
“He (Caudill) said get out of the car and he (Brown) got in front of the car,” Harris said, noting the officer’s weapon was drawn.
Harris said Brown’s car rolled forward, but did not strike Caudill.
Anita Lovejoy, who was walking to her car after an evening of shopping on Aug. 3, testified for the prosecution.
Lovejoy said Caudill was standing in front of Brown’s vehicle when he accelerated toward the officer.
“I was afraid he (Brown) was going to run over him,” Lovejoy said.
During closing arguments, Assistant Warren County Prosecutor John Arnold said the incident of Aug. 3 was “a dynamic, quick moving situation.”
He said Brown made a series of choices on that night that began with a lie and ended with not stopping for a police officer with his weapon drawn.
Arnold said Brown used his car as a deadly weapon and attempted to cause harm to Caudill.
“(Caudill) didn’t have a choice but to go up on the hood of a car, because if he went back he (Brown) would run him over and there was no room to go to the side,” Arnold said, adding Brown still did not stop the car with the officer hanging on the hood.
Defense attorney Jennifer Getty told the jury during closing arguments that Brown accepts responsibility for giving a false name and fleeing, but it was Caudill that created a dangerous situation.
Getty noted when Caudill chased and drew his weapon on Brown, he did not know there was a warrant of his arrest, all he knew was that he was a suspect in a shoplifting incident.
“(Caudill) chose to step in front of the vehicle,” Getty said. “Why put himself in danger over a possible shoplifting case.”
She described Caudill as an “over zealous young cop who made a decision to put himself in the situation.”