Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Colorado jury blames cops
Six police in the small Four Corners city of Cortez had accused Shane French, 38, of stabbing one of them when they answered a 911 call.
A jury acquitted French after less than four hours of deliberations, the Cortez Journal reported.
The Ferguson, Mo., case and other police brutality cases had only led to small protests in the Cortez area, but the jury’s verdict was a resounding negative vote on police conduct.
Public defender Amy Smith’s Power Point presentation blew holes in the prosecution case. When she questioned the police they conceded they had used a stun gun on French seven times, including five times after he had been forced to the ground and subdued.
Smith argued “amped up” police burst into French’s home after his mother called 911 and said he was being verbally abusive.
Smith told the jury French was defending his blind father and his mother from the police, relying on Colorado’s laws protecting homeowners from invaders.
Former Pueblo Sheriff Dan Corsentino testified the officers used excessive force.
Testimony in the trial indicated the officer who suffered the stabbing, which was more like a nick.
The prosecution presented no evidence showing blood on any of the knives in the house.
“I felt a sharp burning on my left side,” policeman Casey Eubanks testified.
Witnesses said Eubanks was stabbed when he grabbed French in a “bear hug” and “threw him face down” on the floor.”
A lapel video recording of the 10-minute-long incident showed Eubanks saying: “I should have (expletive) shot that (expletive).” Muffled groans of pain could be heard.
Patty French, the defendant’s mother, said, “I hope something is done with these officers,” she said. “I can’t believe they are still on the force after what they did.”
French’s mother said she had called police only to ask them to help calm him. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses.
French had faced four counts of felony assault, five counts of resisting arrest and two counts for a crime of violence in the Feb. 14th incident.