Facebook Twitter

MIAMI OFFICER CONVICTED IN 2 DEATHS

SHARE MIAMI OFFICER CONVICTED IN 2 DEATHS

A jury Thursday found a Hispanic police officer guilty of manslaughter in the deaths of two black men whose deaths led to three days of inner-city rioting.

Miami officer William Lozano, 31, was charged with two counts of manslaughter in the Jan. 16 deaths of motorcyclist Clement Lloyd, 23, and his passenger Allan Blanchard, 24. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.Lozano showed no emotion as the two verdicts were read and the jurors were polled.

Prosecutors say Lozano fired unnecessarily as Lloyd's motorcycle fled a squad car after a traffic violation. Lozano said he fired in self-defense when the motorcyclist tried to run him down.

Announcement of the verdict was withheld for about two hours as police, social workers and community relations officials fanned out through the city's black neighborhoods.

The sequestered jury began deliberations Wednesday after seven weeks of testimony and hearings. They worked for about six hours Wednesday and reconvened this morning, deliberating for an additional 11/2 hours before notifing the judge they were finished.

The judge ordered the parties to return Jan. 24 but did not indicate whether sentencing would take place at that time.

Officials had prepared for violence if an acquittal was announced, but also played down the possibility in the hours before the verdict was announced.

"We're really concerned about the media coverage and implications that this is something that would be almost expected from a community," Mayor Xavier Suarez said.