A Maryland jury acquitted a black man of an attempted murder charge two years after a police officer accused him of the crime.
Kevin Sneed was pulled over by a Prince George’s County police officer for a broken taillight and also because there was a “robbery in the immediate vicinity the previous night.”
The arresting officer said Sneed accelerated his vehicle during the stop, and the cop reportedly jumped into the driver’s side window out of fear Sneed had a gun. After a search of Sneed’s vehicle, the officer found no weapon. However, Sneed was charged with attempted murder.
“They told me no bond and they told me what I was actually charged with,” Sneed said. “I said, ‘Just let me go to my cell,’”
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy eventually reduced Sneed’s charge to second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. He was then offered a plea with no time in jail if he admitted to committing a crime he didn’t do.
“At the end of the day, I would be a fool to take it and then they play with my life,” Sneed said.
Sneed’s mother, Kema Harris, received help from an advocacy group, Life After Release, who also contacted Black Lives Matter DC. The two launched a fund to help Sneed get legal representation.
“We were able to get a Black Lives Matter support fund for Kevin’s defense and get him away from public defenders who didn’t have his best interest,” Organizer Nee Nee Taylor said
After a two-day trial, a jury found Kevin Sneed not guilty of all charges. However, the Maryland ACLU said there are many people similar to Kevin who aren’t given the resources to make the best decision for their future.
“People are forced to take these plea deals in which oftentimes they are pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit.”