Updated: Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 7:36 PM EST
Published : Monday, 09 Nov 2009, 7:35 PM EST
Hartford (WTNH) - A trial is now underway in the case of a former Hartford police detective accused of shooting and killing a teenager in May 2005.
Officer Robert Lawlor, 45, faces manslaughter and other charges in the shooting death of 18-year-old Jashon Bryant at Main and Nelson Streets in Hartford.
He had been assigned to a special task force made up of federal, state and local law enforcement trying to get guns off the streets.
Lawlor was an 18-year veteran of the force when the shooting happened and he doesn't deny pulling the trigger and firing at least five shots into the car.
"The officers were quick to shoot, you know, it's like, I understand you have to proceed with caution but to really, you know, just shoot fast, that's something you really want to take into consideration before you actually fire your weapon," said Bernale Bryant of Hartford.
Lawlor claims he saw Bryant reach for a gun while he approached a car the teenager was a passenger in. But, no gun was ever found.
The prosecution went to great lengths to establish how much time was spent searching for a weapon both that night and the next day.
The defense stressed the limited amount of officers available and the workload they had.
But the drama in the courtroom wasn't only on the witness stand.
Bryant's family and friends showed up in force wearing "Justice for Jashon" t-shirts; several were overcome with emotion during the trial. One person was even evicted for an argument outside the court.
This has been a contentious case between the cops and the community they serve.
In past appearances, Lawlor had to be escorted by other police officers into the courtroom for fear he could be hurt.
The jury who will decide Lawlor's fate happens to be all white. But at least Jashon supporters say he doesn't believe that will effect the outcome.
"The jury pool gets limited so what you do is you take from what you have and hope that you get the best group, said Bernale Bryant.
Lawlor's trial will continue Tuesday.