WASHINGTON — After four full days of deliberations, jurors are still struggling to reach a verdict in the historic trial of a D.C. police officer charged with murder after allegedly chasing a man on a moped into oncoming traffic for a minor traffic offense.
MPD officer Terence Sutton is accused of chasing the 20-year-old father after an attempted traffic stop for riding a moped on the sidewalk without a helmet. The chase lasted three-and-a half minutes, taking the pair the wrong way down one-way streets, through blind alleys, and at times, more than twice the speed limit. It ended when Hylton Brown rode out into oncoming traffic on Kennedy Street and was hit and killed by a driver who had piled his whole family into a Scion.
While jurors deliberate in secrecy, there was a hint of what they're still debating Tuesday when they sent out a note asking the judge for a definition of two key phrases: "conscious disregard" and "extreme risk."
The U.S. attorney's office charged Sutton with murder, alleging that by chasing Hylton Brown -- in violation of MPD rules -- he had shown "conscious disregard of the extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury."
Sutton had been reprimanded for chasing someone else a year earlier.
The prosecutor says the officer knew there was a strong chance Hylton Brown could get killed, and kept chasing him anyway. He wants the judge to tell jurors to just use the common definition of conscious disregard and extreme risk.
The defense attorney, however, pushed for a longer explanation about a reckless and wanton disregard for human life.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, the judge had yet to decide.
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