By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer |
A jury was unable to reach a verdict this evening in the case of a New Orleans Police officer who was arrested after firing his gun during an off-duty altercation in December.
The District Attorney’s Office plans to retry Officer Jermaine Lecour in September, spokesman Chris Bowman said.
Meanwhile Lecour remains on desk duty until an investigation by the Public Integrity Bureau is complete, police spokeswoman Remi Braden said.
Lecour, a four-year veteran of the 7th police district, was arrested outside his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in eastern New Orleans on Dec. 28 after an argument.
Accounts differ as to what happened.
Lecour’s ex-girlfriend, Kyoga Adams, told the court that he fired his weapon three times into the ground after asking twice to see their 10-month-old child.
Lecour told the court that he fired a warning shot after Adams’ friend, Justin Venette, an off-duty Tulane University Police officer, fired his weapon twice.
Police recovered three shell casings from the scene, which matched Lecour’s 9mm Ruger P89 semi-automatic pistol.
Lecour left after the argument, returning after receiving a phone call from Public Integrity Bureau officers who were investigating.
Lecour told the court that he drove off out of fear of being shot by Venette; Venette said that Lecour drove off after telling him he could have shot him if he had wanted to.
Jurors were asked to consider the credibility of the various witnesses.
“Most of the time I’m up here defending the credibility of police officers,” said Assistant District Attorney David Pipes, addressing the jury. “But you had a police officer take the stand and deliberately lie to you three times.”
Pipes said Lecour had lied about how many times he fired his gun, about the capacity of its magazine, and about firing in self-defense.
“He took the weapon that he’s allowed to carry as a police officer, and he used it to threaten, to bully, to intimidate,” Pipes said.
Lecour’s attorney, Willard Brown Sr. argued that Adams had changed her account of what happened several times, and he suggested that she was only proceeding with the case against Lecour because she was angry to hear that Lecour had moved back in with a former girlfriend.
“Reasonable doubt? This case is nothing but doubt,” Brown said, in his closing arguments.
Brown also argued that Lecour’s gun had 14 rounds in the magazine when it was recovered, and that it only had a capacity of 15 — supporting Lecour’s contention that he had only fired once. But Pipes showed the jury during closing arguments that the gun’s magazine had a capacity for 16 bullets with one more bullet in the chamber.
Judge Arthur Hunter gave the jury instructions at 6:30 p.m, and declared a mistrial at 8 p.m. after it failed to reach a verdict. The next court date is set for Sept. 21.
Lecour was rearrested in June after violating a protective order preventing him from having contact with Adams. Charges in that case remain outstanding, according to the Criminal District Court docket.
A police report in the case was not immediately available.