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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Markham known as "T-Money" was wearing a big, fur-lined jacket in 80-degree weather

Prosecutors said Wednesday that two San Bernardino gang officers were just doing their job when they stopped to talk to two men standing outside a liquor store in a gang injunction area two years ago.
One of the men in front of Westside Food and Liquor put his hands in the air. But Terrell Markham, just 16 years old and wearing a big puffy jacket, started to back-peddle and took off running. Officer Adam Affrunti chased and eventually shot Markham when the teenager reached for a gun in his rear pocket, say San Bernardino police. The wounds to Markham's head from the November 2007 shooting have left him permanently blind. Markham is on trial in San Bernardino Superior Court, where he faces charges for brandishing a gun at police, having a stolen gun and street terrorism. Prosecutor Ron Webster told jurors in his opening remarks that the officers were doing their job, protecting the community and heading into danger, when most others would run away. "It's right in the heart of the Projects criminal street gang territory," Webster said. As an associate of the gang, Markham, known as "T-Money" had hats and bore tattoos indicative of his allegiance, he said.
Defense attorney Dale Galipo says Markham is not a gang member, was not wearing gang clothing the day of the shooting, and is not listed in the injunction. The lawyer also says his client did not have a gun. Galipo says two or three witness had clear
views of the shooting and counter the police's version of events.
What jurors will learn, Galipo said, is "that Mr. Markham's hands at the time he was shot by Mr. Affrunti were visible. He had no gun in them."
Affrunti is expected to testify today as testimony continues in Markham's trial.
What caught officer's attention in the first place was Markham's jacket. The 6-foot-2 Markham was wearing a big, fur-lined jacket in 80-degree weather.
The jacket stood out like a red flag to police in the warm weather. The large garments are often used to hide weapons, contraband and drugs, according to police.
"Let's put it this way," said Sgt. James Beach, who testified Monday. "I felt like I would be neglecting my duty if I didn't stop that guy in the big coat."
During the chase, Markham ran while holding his waistband and a heavy object, and prosecutors say he wasn't obeying Affrunti's commands. Stopped in a nearby courtyard, Markham ducked behind a bush. Webster told jurors that Markham did not respond to Affrunti's commands to "Stop!" and "Show your hands!" "The defendant is just not doing what he's telling him to do," Webster explained. After a few kicks from the officer to destabilize Markham, he won't lay flat.
When Markham reached for a gun in his rear pocket, Affrunti fired and wounded Markham, according to the prosecutor.
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