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Witness in police brutality trial fuzzy on location, but certain cop hit him

Daniel Rashada can't recall what bus he took home that night, but says he clearly remembers his encounter with Buffalo Police Officer Corey Krug.

It was February 2011 and Rashada, walking along Bissell Avenue, just a few doors from his home, was questioned and eventually arrested by Krug.

He was also assaulted, he told a federal court jury Monday.

"He kicked my legs out from under me," Rashada testified. "He hit me with his flashlight."

A mug shot from Rashada's arrest that night shows him with a swollen left eye and a cut under the eye.

Rashada, who later sued Krug and the city and won an undisclosed monetary settlement, said he was put in the back of Krug's police car and, on the way downtown, asked the officer why he was being arrested.

"He told me, 'We didn't find the person we wanted but we'll take you to jail anyway,' " he told the jury.

Krug, who was looking for a man with a gun that night, arrested Rashada and later indicated on his arrest form that Rashada matched the description of the armed suspect. Rashada said he was never prosecuted.

An 18-year veteran of the police force, Krug is accused of using excessive force in three separate incidents dating back more than eight years. Charged with violating the civil rights of the three men, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted in the trial before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

On cross-examination, defense lawyers challenged Rashada's credibility and asked him about his misdemeanor conviction – he was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun – and bankruptcy in Nebraska.

They also claim he lied about both on a document seeking to legally change his name.

The defense also questioned Rashada's account of what happened on Bissell that night and repeatedly tried to poke holes in his testimony, including his account of where he got off the bus that night.

"You've given three different types of testimony, true?" defense lawyer Herbert L. Greenman asked at one point.

Greenman pointed to Rashada's grand jury testimony, in which he claimed he was dropped off on Walden Avenue, and to his civil suit deposition in which he said he was dropped off on Broadway.

On Monday, he told the jury it was Sycamore Street.

Rashada also couldn't recall when he was handcuffed, but later added that he was certain about the blow to his face.

"It happened," he told Greenman. "That's not false."

Later, Assistant U.S. Attorney John D. Fabian asked Rashada if the most memorable part of that night eight years ago was where he got off the bus, and Rashada answered, "no."

"Is it being hit in the face with a flashlight?" he asked.

"Yes," Rashada answered.

In his arrest report that night, Krug indicated Rashada's injuries may have stemmed from an accident.

"That's when you slipped and fell," asked Greenman.

"I didn't slip," Rashada replied.

"You fell?" Greenman asked.

"I was tripped," he said.

Rashada was also asked about other officers at the scene that night, including the officer who arrived after Krug.

Greenman said the officer was named in Rashada's civil suit and, like Krug, was accused of using excessive force that night.

"He made a false allegation," Greenman said at one point.

Rashada acknowledged the officer was named in the suit because he was part of the arrest, not because he did anything wrong.

"I didn't have anything against him," he said. "He didn't hit me or physically assault me."

During his testimony, Rashada talked about his civil lawsuit against Krug and the city, and the fact that it was eventually resolved. However, because of a ruling by the court, there was no mention in his testimony of the undisclosed settlement between the two sides.

The trial resumes Tuesday.

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