BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Not guilty. That was the speedy verdict nine months after cameras captured a Baltimore County police officer kicking a man.
It took jurors less than 30 minutes to find him innocent.
WJZ’s Kimberly Eiten spoke with the officer, 29-year-old Christopher Spivey, outside the courthouse.
He couldn’t say much about what it felt like when the not guilty verdict came down after so many months off the job, because he’s still possibly facing an administrative investigation by his own department.
“To very delicately look at each of the facts and testimony, I thank them for their service,” Spivey said.
But his lawyer summed it up, saying they were beyond satisfied with the result of the trial.
Spivey was charged with facing four counts of second degree assault after an incident on January 25. The case was built around 17 seconds of infrared helicopter video, showing him kicking a car thief.
In the minutes before, the chopper captured a car chase, then a foot chase, then the moment when 20-year-old Diamontae Tyquan Farrar hits the ground.
Throughout the trial, the state argued that that was then Farrar surrendered, and the kicks and blows that followed were excessive force.
The jury did not agree. They not only acquitted Spivey on day three of the trial, they waited around to thank him for his service outside the courthouse.
“Four not guilties in less than half an hour, 35 minutes, or whatever. I think it sends a powerful message as to the weight of this, or the merits of this case,” said defense attorney Brian Thompson.
“I take my responsibility to police the police very seriously,” said Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger. “I watched that video dozens of times before we made the decision to go forward. My decision will always be made based on the facts and the law.”
He says he’s chosen to prosecute only two use of force cases in 10 years.
The defense said this case shouldn’t have been one of them.
“We certainly hope that in the future they will investigate these matters more thoroughly before they charge a good cop like Chris Spivey,” Thompson said.
Jurors told WJZ that seeing the video, they understand how it would be very easy to jump to conclusions, but in the end all 12 members reached a verdict very quickly.
Spivey was suspended with pay during the investigation and trial.