At his arraignment, Demetrius Blackwell told a Queens, N.Y., judge Thursday that he’s not guilty of the first-degree murder of New York City Police Officer Brian Moore. His attorney is considering an insanity defense, according to WABC News.
A short time earlier that day, a grand jury delivered a 12-count indictment, which included attempted murder of Moore’s partner, Officer Erik Jensen, the New York Daily News reports. The 35-year-old defendant faces a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole if convicted.
This case has drawn national attention. The killing rejuvenated police solidarity at a time when beleaguered police departments face criticism of their tactics in black communities.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says that Blackwell shot at the plainclothes officers May 2 after they approached him in an unmarked vehicle. They saw him adjust his waistband and suspected that he was carrying a concealed weapon, authorities say. Authorities allege that Blackwell refused to stop, turned and fired on the officers, hitting Moore, 25, twice in the head. He died two days later. Thousands of police officers, many traveling from across the nation, gathered at Moore’s funeral to mourn his death.
Although Moore and Jensen were in plain clothes, the district attorney said that authorities believe Blackwell “knew or should have known” that they were police officers, according to the Daily News.
Brown stated at a press conference that he has no plans to offer a plea bargain and would fight an insanity defense. Blackwell’s attorney says that his client may be bipolar. He reportedly has a history of bizarre behavior.
The New York City Police Department was still grieving when Moore was killed. Several months earlier, a gunman in Brooklyn, N.Y., had fatally shot two uniformed officers. That gunman, according to authorities, had made statements on social media suggesting that he would kill police officers in revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of police.