Hartford (WTNH) - A trial is now underway in the case of a former Hartford policedetective accused of shooting and killing a teenager in May2005.
Officer Robert Lawlor, 45, faces manslaughter and other chargesin the shooting death of 18-year-old Jashon Bryant at Main andNelson 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 thestreets.
Lawlor was an 18-year veteran of the force when the shootinghappened and he doesn't deny pulling the trigger and firing atleast five shots into the car.
"The officers were quick to shoot, you know, it's like, Iunderstand you have to proceed with caution but to really, youknow, just shoot fast, that's something you really want to takeinto consideration before you actually fire your weapon," saidBernale Bryant of Hartford.
Lawlor claims he saw Bryant reach for a gun while he approacheda car the teenager was a passenger in. But, no gun was everfound.
The prosecution went to great lengths to establish how much timewas spent searching for a weapon both that night and the nextday.
The defense stressed the limited amount of officers availableand the workload they had.
But the drama in the courtroom wasn't only on the witnessstand.
Bryant's family and friends showed up in force wearing "Justicefor Jashon" t-shirts; several were overcome with emotion during thetrial. One person was even evicted for an argument outside thecourt.
This has been a contentious case between the cops and thecommunity they serve.
In past appearances, Lawlor had to be escorted by other policeofficers 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 willeffect the outcome.
"The jury pool gets limited so what you do is you take from whatyou have and hope that you get the best group, said BernaleBryant.
Lawlor's trial will continue Tuesday.
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