Hummelstown, PA -- What would you think if your neighborhood tavern was holding a benefit for an accused murderer?
As it just so happens, a tavern in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania is doing exactly that.
Lisa Mearkle was caught on camera shooting an unarmed man in the back. Twice. As he lay face down on the ground. These facts are not contested. But alas, there's a twist: the killer was wearing a blue uniform and a badge at the time of the killing.
In March, Hummelstown police Officer, Lisa J. Mearkle was charged with criminal homicide for the shooting death of 59-year-old David Kassick on February 2.
Mearkle shot Kassick as he laid face down on the ground in the snow, unarmed, during a routine traffic stop gone awry.
Mearkle had attempted to pull Kassick over for an expired inspection sticker, but the situation escalated when Kassick attempted to flee from the officer.
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Eventually Mearkle caught up to the motorist close to his sister’s home where he was staying, but Kassick got out of the vehicle and fled on foot. As he was attempting to run away, he was incapacitated by the officer’s taser which she held in her left hand. With her right hand, she unnecessarily pulled out her service gun and shot the unarmed man twice in the back as he lay face-down on the ground.
Now, Lonnie Blough, owner of Chick’s Tavern and long-time friend of the killer, says she will be holding a benefit to help with legal fees and to personally benefit the killer. The first dose of irony in the case is that the benefit for the accused murderer is being put on by an organization called “Hunt for Justice” whose stated goal is to help law enforcers "who have experienced hardships as a result of on-duty related incidents." The second dose of irony is that the benefit will be in the form of a “pig roast.”
A pig roast. For a cop.
Not surprisingly, relatives of the slain Kassick are less than pleased about the event happening, with his brother, Dale Kassick, calling it a “slap in the face.” Such a statement is more than understandable, considering: 1) how rare it is for a law enforcer to be charged with homicide; 2) the fact that the killing was caught on video; 3) the fact that the defense has attempted to prevent the video of the shooting from being made public, and; 4) the fact that there is no question that Officer Mearkle shot an unarmed man in the back, twice, as he lay face down on the ground, killing him.
If all of the circumstances had been the same but the killer had not been wearing a badge, the likelihood that any establishment would hold such an event, or that anyone would show up to support it, is pretty much nil.
It is just one more example of how, to some people, “blue lives” matter more than the lives of ordinary people. So much so that some will show more support and concern for a confessed killer of an unarmed man than they will for a man who ended up dead after being pulled over for having expired inspection stickers.