Meagan McCarthy, a former San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy, expressed her frustration after a jury acquitted a man charged with her attempted murder during a video-recorded attack in Victorville back in 2019. McCarthy was beaten, and her gun was taken during the altercation.
“If he’s found not guilty, then what happened to me?,” McCarthy questioned, conveying her emotions to NBC4. “This is just how I feel — if a video proof of a crime occurring is not enough to change a narrative that people hear, then what will be enough?”
According to court records, jurors found Ari A. Young not guilty of attempted murder and assault with a firearm on a police officer on May 31. However, Young was convicted on a charge of firing a gun with gross negligence, leading to his release from jail.
The video footage, captured from a nearby home, begins after the altercation between McCarthy and Young. It shows Young taking McCarthy to the ground, where they struggle over her pistol, resulting in rounds being fired into the ground.
“A portion of me accepted that I was about to get murdered,” McCarthy recalled, reflecting on the traumatic incident.
Young’s defense lawyer argued that while his client engaged in the physical confrontation, took McCarthy’s baton and gun, and fired the gun indiscriminately, the video evidence did not demonstrate Young taking aim at the deputy.
“This was an illusion,” stated attorney Raj Maline, referring to the prosecution’s attempted murder allegation. “When you look at the video, certainly it looks bad.”
Maline highlighted that the video, along with other evidence and eyewitness accounts presented during the trial, indicated that Young fired the gun in a different direction from where McCarthy had sought cover. He also mentioned that a forensic examination of McCarthy’s gun raised doubts about the prosecution’s theory. The judge instructed jurors to disregard certain aspects of the prosecution’s case.
“The court intervened, took that count away and dismissed it right then and said the jury is not going to be able to deliberate on that issue or consider that issue because it’s not even a close call,” explained Maline.
At the time of the incident, Young, who was 21 years old, was reportedly experiencing mental health issues, prompting his mother to call the police for assistance in removing him from her home.
McCarthy shared her fear during the struggle with Young, recounting how she contemplated shooting him as she was overpowered and feared losing consciousness. Despite enduring pain and uncertainty, her determination to protect her young daughter fueled her will to fight.
McCarthy stated that she received a medical retirement from the sheriff’s department in March 2022, partly due to the post-traumatic stress resulting from the attack.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department announced its intention to comment on the jury’s verdict on Tuesday, while the District Attorney’s Office cited the ongoing status of the case as a reason for its inability to provide a comment. Jurors were unable to reach verdicts on several lesser charges, leaving open the possibility of retrial by the prosecution.