Hummelstown tavern holds fundraiser for officer charged with homicide

Six months ago Sunday Hummelstown Police Officer Lisa Mearkle fatally shot David Kassick according to prosecutors who charged her with homicide.

A pig roast was held Sunday to raise money for her legal fees.

Investigators say she pulled Kassick over for expired tags. Kassick took off running which is when they say Mearkle tased him and when he was face down shot him twice in the back.

“We talked every day. We were very close and I’m used to just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring and he’s on it. It’s just something I haven’t gotten over yet,” Dale Kassick, David Kassick’s brother, said.

Prosecutors say he was unarmed, but hundreds of people came out to Sunday’s pig roast to support Mearkle.

“Everyone deserves a fair trial. Police officers are humans too. Police officers go out and they do the job and they deserve the benefit of the justice system just like everybody else does,” said Chris Hunt, a Police Sergeant in St. Louis, Missouri.

Hunt started the organization “Hunt for Justice” several years ago, to help out officers like Mearkle, teaming up with Chick’s Tavern to raise money for her case.

“Officers don’t go to work every day with the mindset that they’re going to kill someone. As a matter of fact, they go to work hoping that they don’t have to do that. They hope that they don’t have to pull their gun,” said Hunt.

Protesters say the restaurant’s support of Mearkle is unacceptable.

“Chick’s Tavern is a neighborhood bar in a small town, and we feel like the message here is that Chick’s feels like what happened to David Kassick was justified and it’s just not right,” Andy Hoover, a protester, said.

Taser video reportedly shows Kassick lying face down on the ground unarmed when Officer Mearkle shot him twice in the back. A judge has ruled that video won’t be released before the trial.

Both parties agree the facts will come out in court.

“We support the idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty, but Lisa Mearkle gave up her livelihood when she chose to pull the trigger and kill David Kassick,” Hoover said.

“His life was wrongfully taken. this should not be. This is not how it should’ve went. There was no reason for an inspection sticker for my brother to lose his life,” said Dale Kassick.

Officer Mearkle remains suspended from duty. She’s due back in court in November.

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