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Jurors clear Buffalo officer of 3 charges in brutality case, deadlock on 4th

After eight days of deliberations, a jury on Tuesday acquitted Buffalo Police Officer Corey Krug of three of the four charges against him and deadlocked on the final charge.

The verdict, which came after a two-week trial, means the 18-year police veteran has been cleared of using excessive force in two of the three incidents at the center of the civil rights prosecution.

Within an hour of the verdict, federal prosecutors announced they will retry Krug on the one charge the jury could not agree on.

"We accept the jury's verdict and we will be seeking an immediate retrial of the defendant," U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said in a statement.

The split verdict followed a trial in which prosecutors portrayed Krug as a "bully with a badge," and the defense countered by arguing that his use of force was always justified and reasonable.

"It's a tremendous, tremendous result for us," said defense attorney Terrence M. Connors. "Right now, we're just hoping Corey can get back to work very soon."

Each of the three men allegedly assaulted by Krug took the witness stand, including Devin Ford, the man depicted in a high-profile video shot by a WKBW-TV photographer on Thanksgiving Day in 2014.

Ford's encounter with Krug was at the heart of the one felony charge the jury could not reach agreement on.

"We're grateful for the outcome today, and we're ready for the next chapter if there is one," Connors said of a second trial.

The video of Krug's encounter with Ford on Chippewa Street on one of the biggest party nights of the year led to an FBI investigation and a civil rights prosecution charging Krug in two other incidents, as well.

Ford testified that Krug confronted him, slammed him onto a car, took him to the ground and then hit him six times with a nightstick.

Buffalo Police Officer Corey Krug.

The prosecution, led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John D. Fabian and Aaron J. Mango, alleged that Krug also used excessive force against Daniel Rashada and Marcus Worthy, two men who had previously sued Krug and the city.

The jury acquitted Krug on all three charges tied to Worthy and Rashada. Worthy, who was in the courtroom for the verdict, declined to comment Tuesday.

During the trial before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, Rashada testified that Krug, unprovoked, tripped him and struck him in the face with a flashlight during their encounter on Bissell Avenue in 2011. The jury also saw a mug shot from Rashada's arrest showing him with a swollen left eye and a cut under the eye.

Krug didn't take the witness stand during the trial, but as part of a civil lawsuit brought by Rashada, he testified that he was looking for an armed suspect that night and that Rashada met the description. He also said Rashada was uncooperative.

Krug also faced allegations that he hit Worthy in the head with a flashlight during his arrest on Langmeyer Street in 2010. Worthy says he was handcuffed and obeying commands, "because I didn't want them to shoot me."

In contrast, the first police officer on the scene that night said Worthy refused to put his hands up and that, at one point, she could see only one of his hands.

"I believed him to have a gun in his hand," said Lt. Melinda Jones.

Like Rashada, who received an undisclosed monetary settlement, Worthy and Ford filed civil suits against Krug and the city. Both lawsuits are pending.

Tuesday's verdict came from an 11-member jury after Arcara excused a juror because of emergency dental surgery that made her unavailable until next month.  Rather than calling in an alternate juror, which would have meant starting deliberations over, Arcara ordered the panel to proceed with 11 members.

Krug, who is on suspension, could have lost his job on the force and faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted. His defense was financed by the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association.

"It was money well spent," said PBA President John Evans. "A good defense costs money."

As he was leaving the courthouse Tuesday, Krug declined to comment, except to say, "I just want to go home and see my kids."

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