HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys for a Bellaire police officer say he was not reckless but responding to his training and believed he was in danger when he shot an aspiring baseball player in 2008.
But prosecutors Tuesday urged jurors in Houston to convict Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton, saying errors by the lawman and other officers resulted in Robert Tolan, an innocent and unarmed man, being shot.
Jurors began deliberating after closing arguments in the four-day trial.
If convicted, Cotton could receive a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
The shooting prompted claims of racial profiling, which Bellaire police have denied.
Cotton is white. Tolan, who is black, is the son of former major league baseball player Bobby Tolan.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
HOUSTON (AP) — The fate of a Houston-area police officer on trial for a 2008 shooting that sparked accusations of racial profiling could soon be in the hands of a jury.
Closing arguments were set for Tuesday in the trial of Bellaire police Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton, accused by prosecutors of shooting Robert Tolan without justification. The unarmed aspiring baseball player was mistakenly believed to be an auto theft suspect.
Cotton's attorneys say the shooting was justified because the officer believed Tolan was reaching into his waistband for a weapon as he was coming toward Cotton.
If convicted, Cotton faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Tolan is the son of former major league baseball player Bobby Tolan.