St Louis Personal Injury Lawyer Defends Police Assault Case to Preserve Client's Personal Injury Case - Hung Jury, Case Defended by Ben Sansone
My client, James Hunt, was assaulted by the police when they were investigating "suspicious activity" outside his house. The police claim they simply asked him to verify the people outside of his house were an acquaintance. The real story, is that the police (part of an aggressive "crime suppression" squad) assumed two black people in a car waiting for James were burglars, and upon James answering the door they assumed he was a burglar and assaulted him. Soon after the police realized their mistake and tried to get James to agree to forget about it, he refused and said he was going to get a lawyer.
So, what is the best way to cover up a police assault on an innocent person? Charge him with a crime, claim he assaulted the police without provocation, and get six other officers to all back the story up. The prosecuting attorney's office is pushing the case because a guilty plea or verdict will effectually destroy any civil case James may have against the police. That is why this criminal case is so important, without a victory here the civil personal injury case is done.
Well, the police story is so ridiculous, that after police testimony the only defense was Jame's own testimony. The jury became deadlocked and refused to convict James.
Jury deadlocks in case involving fracas with police
By Heather Ratcliffe
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
St. Louis — A jury deadlocked Wednesday on whether a man assaulted St. Louis police who went to his home last year to ask what he knew about people sitting in a van in the alley behind his house.
Defendant James Hunt, 53, countered that officers ordered him out of his home and beat him without provocation. Police said Hunt started it by grabbing an officer's shirt. The jury gave up after about four hours of deliberation.
Hunt is charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.
Officer William Clinton testified that he had noticed the van in the Benton Park West neighborhood about 6 p.m. May 11, 2007, while patrolling an area hit by a rash of burglaries. He said the man and woman in the van claimed they were waiting for Hunt.
Officers handcuffed the two and knocked on Hunt's back door to verify the story. They said Hunt became agitated, cursed and grabbed Detective Ron Martin by the shirt.
"I defended myself," Martin testified Wednesday. "I hit him twice to get him off me." Officers said they handcuffed Hunt and put him in a patrol car.
Hunt told a much different story.
He said officers asked him outside without saying why and that Martin threw a punch. "When the officer swung at me, I ducked and it (obscenity) him off," Hunt said. He said Martin responded with more punches.
Hunt claimed Martin jabbed him in the face with the end of a crowbar three times; he showed jurors pictures of his swollen face.
"Look at all the problems I got for answering my door," Hunt said.
Hunt filed an internal affairs complaint with the police. Officials ruled it unfounded, and the case was closed.
Hunt said police may have seen family photos belonging to his girlfriend, who is white, and presumed that Hunt, who is black, was a burglar.
Only after officers found his house keys did their demeanor change, he said. They offered him a cigarette, he said.
"They asked me how I wanted to deal with this," Hunt testified. "I told them I was going to get a lawyer."