SAN BERNARDINO – A jury will get to hear about the possible gang involvement and criminal history of a teenager who was shot by police two years ago after allegedly reaching for a gun at the end of a foot chase.
It is undecided, however, whether the jury will learn about the officer’s five prior shootings.
Terrell Markham, 18, has been identified by police as a gang associate. His juvenile record began at age 7 and includes robbery, punching a teacher and shooting someone with a B.B. gun, court documents show.
Adam Affrunti spent years on the police department’s SWAT and gang team before switching to patrol this year. He has been involved in six on-duty shootings in his seven-year career.
“Officer Affrunti has a history of shooting young African-American men or boys and claiming that they had a gun in their hands when in fact they do not,” defense attorney Dale Kristopher Galipo wrote in a motion.
Affrunti and Markham crossed paths in a Westside neighborhood Nov. 17, 2007, when Affrunti says he recognized Markham as a gang member and grew suspicious that the teen was wearing a fur-lined jacket in 80 degree weather.
Markham ran when the officers approached and Affrunti chased him several blocks before shooting him in a housing courtyard after Markham allegedly reached into his back pocket for a gun.
On Tuesday, Galipo and prosecutor Rob Webster argued before a judge tasked with deciding which information would be admissible in Markham’s criminal trial, which is expected to begin by January.
Galipo attempted to get all mention of Markham’s alleged gang involvement barred, arguing that his criminal history could taint the jury’s perspective and prevent Markham from getting a fair trial.
Markham is charged with exhibiting a firearm in the presence of an officer, resisting an officer, receiving stolen property and participating in a criminal street gang.
Galipo claims Markham does not belong to a gang and did not intend to harm Affrunti to gain notoriety. In fact, the defense contends that Affrunti planted the gun on Markham.
Authorities say Markham was carrying a .40 caliber H&K semiautomatic pistol that had been stolen from a federal agent’s Victorville home.
In a responding motion, Webster, the prosecutor, pointed out that “Officer Affrunti is charged with nothing other than doing his job.”
He also stated that no accusations of excessive force have ever been sustained against Affrunti.
Webster told the judge that the gang Markham allegedly belongs to has a hit out on Affrunti, who killed a gang leader’s dad about six years ago after the man stepped in front of Affrunti’s patrol car. Police say the man was under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he was hit.
The gang leader has a tattoo covering his entire back that depicts a police officer being murdered, authorities have said. The gang leader has reportedly told police the tattoo is of Affrunti.
“There was a lot to be gained by this defendant by hurting Officer Affrunti,” Webster argued in court. “He lured this officer into a courtyard, hid behind a bush and attempted to pull a gun.”
San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Ronald Christianson is expected to decide Thursday whether Affrunti’s prior shootings may be brought up during Markham’s trial.
Also on Tuesday, exactly two years after the shooting, the defense attorney filed a civil lawsuit against the police department on Markham’s behalf.
Galipo has handled more than a dozen wrongful-death or excessive force claims against the San Bernardino Police Department. This is his third civil lawsuit against Affrunti.
Filed under: Censorship, Civil Liberties, Drugs, Guns, Information, Prison Industrial Complex Tagged: | Adam Affrunti, Dale Kristopher Galipo, Rob Webster, Ronald Christianson, San Bernardino Police Department, Terrell Markham