A Massachusetts jury today rejected the Commonwealth’s prosecution of Attorney Chris Spring’s client, who was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. The jury took less than 10 minutes to find Attorney Spring’s client not guilty of all charges.
The police were searching for the defendant after reports that he had beaten up his brother. A police officer spotted him walking along the side of the road. When the defendant realized he was being followed by a cop, he started running away. The officer pursued and eventually caught up to him and was able to detain him until backup officers arrived on the scene. According to the police, when the defendant was told he was being arrested, he immediately began resisting and shoved one of the officers in the chest in an effort to escape. In response, one of the officers threw the defendant to the ground, where three cops pounced on him and attempted to handcuff him. In the process of being arrested, the defendant suffered significant facial injures. These injuries were predictably not photographed by the police. Attorney Spring took pictures of the injures at the defendant’s arraignment, and those pictures were introduced to the jury.
The Commonwealth called three police officers to testify against the defendant, all of whom were involved in his arrest. Their stories contained significant inconsistencies, which were attacked by Attorney Spring during cross-examination. The officer who threw the defendant to the ground insisted the defendant shoved him in the chest, but neither of the other officers, who were standing within five feet, saw the alleged assault. There were disputes about how the defendant landed on the ground, how many officers piled on top of him, whether the defendant was swinging his arms, and how long it took to handcuff him. Attorney Spring called his client to testify. He told the jury he initially ran from the police because he was scared and when he was caught, he followed all of the officers’ instructions and never resisted their attempts to place him into custody. According to the defendant’s story, the police attacked him for no reason.
In his closing argument, Attorney Spring argued this was a case of police brutality. The police had unlawfully beaten his client and, upon realizing the extent of his injuries, fabricated a series of accusations against the defendant to deflect attention from their own illegal conduct. The large number of inconsistencies suggested the officers were making up their stories as they testified, and there was not a scintilla of physical evidence that the defendant had committed the crimes with which he was charged. The jury agreed.
Cases alleging resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer are winnable, particularly when the defendant is injured. Many jurors have had bad experiences with police officers and it is general knowledge that some officers abuse their power. If you are charged with these types of crimes, it is important that you immediately consult with a criminal defense attorney who has experience defending these cases.