ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WUSA9) -- An Anne Arundel County jury is now deliberating the fate of an African-American police officer accused of murdering a white man in a road rage case that national police defense advocates claim should never have been brought to trial.
"This is identical to the Zimmermann case, except in reverse," said Joseph Occhipinti, Executive Director of the National Police Defense Foundation, referring to the Florida acquittal of George Zimmermann for the death of Trayvon Martin.
Occhipinti called the Maryland road rage incident a clear-cut case of self-defense.
However, prosecutors claim 41-year-old New Jersey police detective, Joseph Walker should have kept on driving and called 911 after he and his family were chased, taunted with racial slurs, and nearly run off Interstate 97 in Anne Arundel County by an enraged driver and his companion on June 8, 2013.
Instead, Walker claims he pulled over to check his car for damage. In the confrontation that followed, the off-duty officer shot and killed 36-year-old Joseph Harvey Jr. of Millersville.
Harvey, a 300 pound ex-bar bouncer had been drinking and was carrying a knife in one pocket, evidence showed. He was accompanied by another man and had marched nearly a half-football field's distance toward Walker before the shooting.
Prosecutors told jurors that Walker pulled over to intentionally settle the score after the racially-charged incident.
Walker's defense lawyers say its a clear-cut case of self defense. Walker's wife and three children were in the mini-van. The family was traveling back to New Jersey after a family gathering in Gambrills, Md.
Walker's wife testified her husband showed his badge and warned Harvey to back away before firing at the last possible second.
Harvey was wounded by a shot to the leg and killed by two additional shots to the body.
After being excused, alternate Juror Joseph Solee said he believed evidence showed the incident is a case of self-defense.
The 12-person jury includes 4 African-Americans.
The jury was sent home late Tuesday and will resume deliberations Wednesday morning.