ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland appeals court says a former small-town police chief convicted of misconduct in office deserves a new trial.

Former Pocomoke City chief Kelvin Sewell was convicted in 2016 following a 2014 hit-and-run incident involving Douglas Matthews, a Maryland correctional officer and fellow local Masonic lodge member.

Prosecutors alleged that Sewell and another former officer, also a Mason, conspired to resolve the incident without charging or citing Matthews.

The Court of Special Appeals ruled Thursday that the judge erred in excluding expert testimony Sewell says would have supported his claim that his actions were reasonable and consistent with a small-town chief’s discretion.

Sewell and the other officer, along with another former black Pocomoke officer, filed a federal lawsuit in 2016 claiming they were victims of racial discrimination by local authorities.

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