Mark O’Mara is a Florida defense attorney who O’ shot to national prominence as the lead attorney in the George Zimmerman trial.
CNN asked O’Mara about the publicly available information surrounding the death of North Carolina teenager Keith Vidal, a 5’3″ 18-year-old battling schizophrenia who was being calmed by two officers before Southport Detective Byron Vassey burst into the scene, ordered Vidal tased, and then allegedly leaned forward between the two officers to kill him with a single shot to the chest less than 70 seconds after he arrived on the scene.
O’Mara thinks Vassey’s claim that he fired in self defense doesn’t ring true:
Veteran defense attorney Mark O’Mara, a CNN legal analyst, agrees with the family. From what he knows of the case — including the police detective first saying he was ‘defending himself,” only to later say through his lawyer he was defending another officer — O’Mara thinks “deadly force was (not) the only option” when you have three officers responding to subdue a slim, mentally ill teenager.
“Every other opportunity to resist using that deadly force should be deployed (first),” said O’Mara. “Why not just back away from the situation and see what happens?”
Several accounts from the media suggest that Vidal’s stepfather was in the process of attempting to remove the tiny electronics screwdriver from Vidal’s hand as two officers held him down, seemingly casting even more doubt on Vassey’s claim that he was acting in (someone’s) defense.
I’d suggest reserving judgement until the SBI investigation is complete, but there are significant discrepancies in Vassey’s own stories, and the claims between Vassey and what family members who were there claimed to have happened.