Southwest Regional Police Officer Stu Harrison: DA appeals again

In November, Presiding Judge Maria Musti Cook again refused to drop the criminal case against former South West Regional Police officer Stu Harrison.


The York County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday asked the Pennsylvania Superior Court for permission to appeal a judge’s ruling denying its request to drop the criminal case against a former Southern Regional Police officer. west who shot a handcuffed man.

In November, York County Chairwoman Judge Maria Musti Cook again denied the prosecutor’s motion to dismiss the case against Stu Harrison, who was a more than 15-year veteran of the Southern Regional Police Department. Where is.

Prosecutors claimed there was not enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt because an independent third-party witness, Harry Harrington, died in 2019. But Cook described the legal reasoning of the prosecutor as “lame” and noted that a high percentage of cases that go to trial have no such witnesses.

Related: York County prosecutor can’t drop charges against ex-cop who shot handcuffed man, rules rules again

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday first tried to drop the case in 2020, writing in a seven-page memo that continuing to pursue a conviction would constitute “punishment for punishment’s sake”.

Cook denied this request. The Pennsylvania Superior Court denied the prosecutor’s request to appeal his decision.

Harrison is charged with common assault in the shooting of Ryan Smith, 36, of Jackson Township, which occurred outside Santander Bank on West Hanover Street in Spring Grove on May 30, 2018.

Smith demanded to withdraw $500,000 but did not have a bank account or photo ID. He had been released from a psychiatric unit the previous day, his mother said, and was confused.

Pennsylvania State Police reported that Harrison told investigators he intended to seize his TASER X26. But he instead pulled out his Glock 17 and shot Smith in the leg.

Smith later pleaded guilty to provocative trespassing and disorderly conduct to a one-year probation sentence. He and his mother, Christine, who witnessed the shooting, opposed efforts to end the prosecution.

Christine Smith said she didn’t feel her family was getting justice, adding that it had been almost four years since the shooting. “I’m not surprised what the prosecutor is doing,” she said. “I’m disappointed, but not surprised.”

Read: York County DA to again ask to drop charges against ex-cop who shot handcuffed man

Kyle King, spokesman for the York County prosecutor’s office, said he was not discussing ongoing litigation.

Harrison’s attorneys, Ed Paskey and Chris Ferro, could not immediately be reached.

They separately asked the Pennsylvania Superior Court for permission to appeal the decision.

Also interesting: What happens to evidence, investigations and officers when a police department closes in York County?

The Southwest Regional Police Department disbanded in late 2019. The Smiths filed an excessive force complaint in 2020 in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.

Harrison, 59, of Bluffton, South Carolina, remains free of his own engagement.

Dylan Segelbaum is the courthouse reporter for the York Daily Record, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Reach him at [email protected], by phone at 717-916-3981 or on Twitter @dylan_segelbaum.

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