Reading police officer acquitted of manslaughter for shooting unarmed man in 2019

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Reading police officer acquitted of manslaughter for shooting unarmed man in 2018
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Crime

Officer Erik Drauschke shot and killed Alan Greenough in February 2018.

Erik Drauschke, a Reading (R) police officer charged with manslaughter, sits next to his lawyer Peter Pasciucco during the first day of his trial. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

A Reading police officer charged with manslaughter in the shooting of an unarmed man in 2018 was acquitted on Monday.

In 2018, officer Erik Drauschke shot and killed 43-year-old Alan Greenough at a junkyard. At the time, Greenough smashed furniture and threw objects at officers, but was unarmed.

The Boston Globe reported that a Middlesex Superior Court jury deliberated for around eight hours over the course of two days before finding Drauschke not guilty.

Drauschke was charged in 2020 by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office after an independent judge reviewed the case and dismissed Drauschke’s claim that he faced a mortal threat when he shot Greenough. It came after years of pressure on the prosecutor’s office from Greenough’s family to investigate the shooting.

Drauschke is the first police officer to be criminally charged with an on-duty murder in Massachusetts in the past 30 years.

Reactions to the verdict

Drauschke had more than two dozen supporters in the courtroom on Monday, including his wife, the World reported. When the verdict was read, they gasped, clapped and burst into tears.

“We are grateful to the jury for reviewing the evidence and concluding that what we have found is the correct verdict,” said Drauschke’s attorney, Kenneth Anderson. World.

“We just wonder why we are here to begin with. There are certainly cases where there are police officers whose conduct should be questioned, but we don’t believe this is one of those cases, and we are glad that he was finally found guilty after four long years.

Greenough’s mother, Catherine Rawson, and brother, Anthony Perrotti, have not publicly reacted to the verdict, the World reported. But their civil lawyer, Victor Koufman, told the newspaper that the family continues to mourn their loss.

“While the family is extremely disappointed with the verdict, they respect the jury process and thank the jurors for their service,” Koufman said in an email.

“Mr. Drauschke’s actions on February 3, 2018 were unprofessional and reckless. Had he waited for his colleagues to arrive at the vehicle where Alan was huddled, the matter would have been resolved without bloodshed. Alan would not have didn’t have to die.

Koufman told the World the family hopes the Reading Police Department will not see this as a victory for law enforcement.

“Police should instead use this horrific case as an opportunity to improve their methods when responding to a crisis,” he wrote.

Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Thomas Brant left the courtroom without comment on Monday, the World reported, and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan did not respond to a request for comment.

The trial

Drauschke had been with the force for 11 years and was 36 when he shot Greenough. That day, he and other officers were in an apartment attached to East Coast Gas and Auto Repair at 1462 Main St. in Reading to arrest Greenough for domestic battery and assault on his housemates.

Drauschke spotted Greenough in a red Hummer in the junkyard and opened the door. When Greenough came out, he reportedly kept his hands in his sweatshirt pockets and refused to take them out.

Greenough allegedly insulted Drauschke and said “Kill me!” several times. Drauschke then fired twice at close range.

During the trial, prosecutor Brant argued that Drauschke should have waited for other officers at the scene to provide backup before confronting Greenough. He also argued that because Greenough was unarmed, there was no threat that would necessitate shooting him.

“He was going to be the cowboy,” Brant told jurors. “He was going to be the hero. He was going to apprehend this man.

Attorney Anderson countered that Drauschke responded like any police officer and that his actions were consistent with his training. He also portrayed Greenough as someone struggling with drug addiction and said he repeatedly refused to follow police orders.

“You have to put yourself in the shoes of a police officer in a fast-paced, intense and dangerous situation,” he told jurors.

And after

Reading Police Chief David Clark said Monday night Constable Drauschke will be reinstated to the Reading Police Department, but they don’t know when he will return to duty.

Clark also released a statement on the verdict:

“The decision to use lethal force against a human being is the most difficult time in any police officer’s life, I know Constable Drauschke will bear the burden of having made that choice,” Clark said.

“This is a solemn moment, regardless of the verdict, and I want to thank the jury for their careful consideration of the facts of this case. I also once again offer the collective condolences of the men and women of the police department of Reading to the family of Alan Greenough for their loss.

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