Witness Says Officer Aimed and Fired
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ A prosecution witness testified Thursday that a Miami policeman aimed his gun and fired at a speeding motorcyclist in a killing that sparked three days of racial rioting.
William Lozano, a Colombian-born officer now suspended from the force, is being retried on manslaughter charges for the deaths of two blacks on the motorcycle. The defense argues that he fired reflexively in self defense.
The description given by Robert Fountain basically backed up earlier testimony by another witness that the officer was not in danger from the speeding motorcycle. The motorcyclist was fleeing other officers.
Fountain said he was sitting in his parked truck in Miami’s predominantly black Overtown area on Jan. 16, 1989, and saw Lozano react to the sound of the approaching motorcycle.
″He knocked the latch off his pistol (holster),″ Fountain said. ″He moved to the left and he pulled it.″
″He grabbed it with two hands like this,″ Fountain said about the officer’s pistol, crouching and holding his hands together. ″Boom, one shot.″
Another witness, Miami police Investigator Antonio Mir, testified that Lozano showed him how he had aimed and fired while standing near his patrol car.
Mir, who was ruled a reluctant witness for the prosecution by Circuit Judge W. Thomas Spencer, said he came upon Lozano at the shooting scene.
Mir quoted Lozano as saying: ″I stepped away from my car and that’s when I saw the cycle coming straight at me and I got scared. I thought it was going to run me over. I drew my gun and fired.″
After Lozano fired, shooting Clement Lloyd, 23, in the head, the cycle roared on by and crashed into a parked car. The collision killed passenger Allan Blanchard, 24.
Lozano, 33, contends the motorcycle was heading directly toward him at high speed when he fired in a reflex action of self-defense. Defense lawyers are trying to convince the jury that Lloyd - who had alcohol, cocaine and marijuana in his system - was out of control and aimed his motorcycle at the officer.
Dr. William Hearn, director of the toxicology lab for the Dade County medical examiner’s office, testified that tests showed Lloyd had ″a negligible amount″ of alcohol and a trace of cocaine in his system when he died.
But, Hearn said, Lloyd had a ″relatively high concentration″ of marijuana and was ″definitely under the influence.″
The prosecution claims Lozano had plenty of time to step into the street and take careful aim. The officer fired as the motorcycle was level with him in the opposite lane of traffic, prosecutors contend.
Lozano was convicted of manslaughter in December 1989, but the verdict was overturned in 1991 by an appeals court that ruled the Miami jury may have been pressured into the verdict by the possibility of more violence.
The trial was to resume Friday.