A Maryland man has been vindicated after a two-year fight for justice that began with accusations he tried to kill a police officer.
A jury exonerated Kevin Sneed last Wednesday, bringing his legal battle to an end, NBC4 Washington reported. It was with help from advocacy groups Life After Release and Black Lives Matter DC that he is finally a free man.
The attempted murder charge stemmed from a 2017 traffic stop in which Sneed was pulled over for a busted tail light and because there was a “robbery in the immediate vicinity on the previous night,” according to a Prince George’s County Police officer’s report.
The TV station reported that the officer claimed Sneed “accelerated during the stop,” prompting him to jump into the driver’s side window out of fear that the driver was armed. Advocates for Sneed said that after approaching the car the officer jumped into the driver’s window, claiming he saw a gun, and began assaulting Sneed, causing the motorist to pull off to escape from the policeman’s blows.
Authorities charged Sneed with attempted murder of an officer.
“They told me no bond and they told me what I was actually charged with,” Sneed recalled to NBC4 Washington. “I said, ‘Just let me go to my cell.’ “
“I felt like the system was going to work against me, regardless,” he added.
The Maryland man suffered bruises in the incident after he was allegedly beaten by the responding police officer. Sneed maintained his innocence throughout the two-year ordeal, one his own mother says left him feeling depressed and without an ounce of hope.
“He felt like he didn’t even want to live,” his mother, Kema Harris, said.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy inherited Sneed’s case from previous state’s attorney and moved forward with prosecution, but on the lesser charges of second-degree assault and disorderly conduct. One of Sneed’s lawyers, Brandon Burrell, disputes this, however, and told reports that prosecutors reduced the charges are simply “inaccurate.”
“The grand jury didn’t find probable cause of attempted first degree murder,” Burrell said in a statement to The Root. “So after the indictment his charges were first degree assault, second degree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, gun charges, and various traffic citations.”
Burrell also spoke to the alleged corruption in the case, detailing how a gun was planted in the car in an attempt to frame his client.
“The prosecutor had no choice but to dismiss the charges related to the gun the first day of trial, because of the indicia that it was planted by the police,” he added. “It was clear during the testimony of the initial officer that Sneed was racially profiled.”
At trial, the prosecution offered Sneed a tempting plea deal of no jail time if he admitted guilt. The Maryland said he considered taking it out of fear that he’d be locked up, but ultimately turned it down.
“At the end of the day, I would be a fool to take it and then they play with my life,” he said.
Sneed’s mother enlisted the help of local advocacy group Life After Release, which in turn got Black Lives Matter DC to assist in retaining a new defense team, NBC4 Washington reported.
“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,” Black Lives Matter Core Organizer Nee Nee Taylor told the outlet.
After a two-day trial, a jury cleared Sneed on all charges, giving him a second chance at life.
“If you did not do anything wrong, fight for your life,” he said.
Watch more in the video below.