Man who Shot Cop in No-Knock Raid Over 1.2 Oz. of Weed Sentenced to 13 Years
Austin police say they found 1.2 ounces of marijuana and 40 grams of Xanax inside Harrell's residence during a no-knock raid two years ago.
Harrell says he thought intruders were breaking in when he shot Austin SWAT cop James Pittman because the cops never identified themselves.
SWAT team officers raided Pittman's parents' home around 6 a.m. on Aug. 13, 2016 in order to execute a search warrant to look for illegal drugs.
Pittman testified at Harrell's trial this week, complaining to jurors about needing a knee replacement, but saying he's too young to get one.
He also testified saying he struggles to play with his kids after being shot.
"Is it worth it putting my life on the line if that’s what the community thinks?" Pittman said during an interview with the Austin-American Statesman in response to the not guilty verdict a jury rendered for Ray Rosas.
Rosas is the Texas man found not guilty after shooting three cops during a no knock raid.
During Harrell's trial Thursday, a psychiatrist testified Harrell suffers from oppositional defiant disorder and had behavior problems in school.
Harrell's psychiatrist also testified that at the time of the police shooting, Harrell was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following an incident four months earlier when he and his friends were robbed at gunpoint by a masked assailant.
The gunman shot at Harrell, the psychiatrist testified.
Eventually, Harrell was able to wrestle the gun away from the man and chased him out of his friend's apartment.
Harrell attempted to shoot the man, who police later identified as a classmate, but no bullets were in the chamber.
During his trial, the 299th district court in Travis County included 18 SWAT team members dressed in their department-issued uniforms.
"Look at this gallery," Michael Chandler, Harrell's defense attorney, told the jury.
“You don’t think this is a lot of political pressure for these prosecutors?"
The jury found Harrell not guilty of a more serious capital murder charge .
Harrell was convicted earlier this week of aggravated assault.
The case has brought attention to questions about whether or not no-knock tactics are safe for people suspected of crimes or even police themselves.
Some experts question the criteria used to obtain a warrant for no-knock raids, which police say are useful due to the element of surprise, which makes it difficult to destroy evidence.
The no-knock search warrant used to raid Harrell's parents' home was signed by Austin Municipal Judge Ronald Meyerson.
Meyerson said he signed the warrant after Austin police detective Steve Hawkins gave the judge reason enough to believe Harrell was a "large drug dealer" of marijuana and cocaine.
Detective Hawkins cited materials that included plastic baggies with "marijuana residue" as evidence in a sworn affidavit.
So far, Harrell's defense attorneys have not announced whether or not they'll appeal the jury's finding.