Jury: APD Officer Did Not Use Excessive Force

Sep 26, 2013

A still image from the officer lapel camera video released by APD.
Credit The Albuquerque Police Department

A former Albuquerque police officer charged with beating a surrendering man has been found not guilty.

A jury acquitted Connor Rice of battery and aggravated battery on Thursday after deliberating more than three hours.

Connor Rice testified Wednesday that he was reacting to the suspect's efforts to resist arrest when he hit the 20-year-old in May 2012. Some of  the incident, including video of another officer putting his boot on the suspect's head, was recorded on the officer's lapel camera.  

Video also showed the former officer shooting a stun gun into another suspect after bursting into a suspected drug dealer's apartment without a warrant.

His lawyer told jurors he was acting reasonably but prosecutors say he used excessive force.

Preston Wood is Director of the local peace and justice advocacy group ABQ ANSWER. He says the jury's decision was a travesty of justice. 

"The world is watching, so those of us who care about true justice are going to keep organizing and ultimately the police have to be held accountable by the people," Wood said. 

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating APD's policies on excessive use of force in response to public outcry after more than two dozen officer involved shootings. 

 Editor's Note: This article originally reported that the officer's lapel camera captured video of the actual arrest in this case. We regret the error.