Buffalo Police Officer Corey Krug may not take the witness stand, but his lawyers still want jurors to hear his account of what happened that night eight years ago.
Krug, as part of a civil suit against the city, testified about his arrest of Daniel Rashada, one of three men accusing him of using excessive force, and a conversation they allegedly had in the backseat of Krug's patrol car.
The officer's deposition, revealed in court Tuesday, is the latest indication of his defense against allegations that, unprovoked, he tripped Rashada and struck him in the face with a flashlight.
In his testimony, Krug, who was looking for an armed suspect that night, said Rashada met the description but was uncooperative when Krug asked him to stop and speak with him.
"He refused and kept saying, 'you have no right to stop me,'" Krug testified. "I also asked him to show his hands and he refused."
At one point, Krug said, he was forced to take Rashada to the ground but that, eventually, Rashada became compliant, even remorseful.
"He became very apologetic," Krug said of Rashada, "saying 'I'm sorry I acted like an a------."
Krug went on to testify in the civil case that Rashada's apology while in the back of his car convinced him to go easy on the suspect.
"That's why I gave him an appearance ticket and used our discretion not to charge him with resisting arrest," he said in his civil testimony.
Just hours after the defense sought to introduce certain aspects of Krug's deposition, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara declared them hearsay and not admissible in the trial.
Arcara acknowledged the deposition supports Krug's side of the story but noted that, "Rashada may have made those statements even though Krug used excessive force."
Krug's legal efforts to introduce his civil deposition – Arcara allowed part of it in as evidence – coincided with the testimony of his former partner, William Rezabek, the second officer on the scene that night.
Rezabek, now a detective, testified that he and Krug spoke about Rashada's arrest and that Krug made it clear Rashada was aggressive and uncooperative.
"Officer Krug indicated to me that when he told the defendant to put his hands on the car, the defendant became combative," he told the jury.
Rezabek said Krug also told him that he used his hands to gain control of Rashada before putting him in handcuffs. He also denied being on the scene when Rashada was placed in the patrol car.
"Did you ever attempt to pick him up and throw in the police car?" asked defense attorney Herbert L. Greenman.
""No," Rezabek answered.
"Did you ever touch him?" Greeman asked.
"No," the officer replied.
Rezabek's account of what happened during Rashada's arrest on Bissell Avenue differs greatly from the testimony Rashada gave on Monday.
Rashada claims Krug tripped him, struck him in the face with a flashlight and choked him while he and Rezabek threw him in the back seat of Krug's car.
The jury also saw a mug shot from Rashada's arrest showing him with a swollen left eye and a cut under the eye.
Investigated by the FBI and indicted by a grand jury, Krug is accused of using excessive force against three men in three separate incidents dating back eight years.
If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.