NEW YORK (AP) _ A police officer who shot an unarmed squeegee man while leaving a baseball game was found innocent of all charges Thursday.
Michael Meyer, 29, could have faced 25 years in prison if he had been convicted of assault and reckless endangerment for shooting a man who tried to wash his windshield for a handout last summer. Meyer was off-duty at the time.
Judge John Collins ruled that prosecutors failed to disprove Meyer’s claim that he used his gun because he feared for his life. The victim, Antoine Reid, was shot once in the stomach.
Meyer’s family and police in the courtroom cheered and clapped when Collins issued his ruling.
``I acted appropriately,″ Meyer said. ``It was a horrible situation but justice prevailed.″
Reid, who is suing the city for $100 million, said he was outraged.
``He’s going to do this to somebody else,″ Reid said.
Meyer had just left a New York Yankees game with his girlfriend and her young son when Reid tried to wash his car’s windshield for a few coins. Meyer testified he and Reid began struggling.
``I thought that this guy was going to do some serious damage to me, that he was going to kill me,″ Meyer testified.
But several eyewitness said Meyer was the aggressor in the confrontation _ that he walking forward as Reid backed away and shoved him across several lanes of traffic.
Meyer still faces a police department hearing, and the police commissioner will decide whether Meyer stays on the force or is fired.