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Buffalo cop to stand trial in excessive force case – again

When federal prosecutors took their case against Corey Krug to a jury, the Buffalo police officer walked away acquitted of three of the four charges against him. But the jury deadlocked on the last count.

Later this week, the government, intent on retrying the 18-year police veteran, will again try to prove that remaining allegation: that Krug used excessive force against a Lackawanna man more than four years ago.

Jury selection in the trial before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara begins Tuesday.

"Earlier this year, Officer Corey Krug stood before this court and a jury of his peers and was acquitted of allegations that he used excessive force," defense lawyer Terrence M. Connors said in court papers last week. "The government seeks to force Officer Krug to relitigate those charges, along with other baseless allegations."

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

A key piece of evidence in that case – and this week's trial as well – is a video of Krug's encounter with Devin Ford, the Lackawanna man, on Thanksgiving Day in 2014.

"When the defendant reached Mr. Ford, holding his nightstick horizontally in both hands, the defendant slammed Mr. Ford against the hood of a car and drove him off the car and onto the ground," Assistant U.S. Attorneys John D. Fabian and Aaron J. Mango said in court papers. "As the defendant crashed into Mr. Ford and slammed him onto the ground, Mr. Ford said, 'I didn't do nothing.' "

Shot by a WKBW-TV photographer, the video led to an FBI investigation and a civil rights prosecution charging Krug in two other incidents, as well. The jury acquitted Krug on all three charges tied to those other incidents.

The verdict means Ford, who testified at the first trial, will again take the stand to talk about his encounter with Buffalo police on Chippewa Street during one of the busiest party nights of the year.

"I just remember being on my back, saying 'I didn't do anything, I didn't do anything,' " Ford testified at the first trial.

Krug countered by attacking his accuser's credibility and suggesting in court papers that Ford has an anti-police bias and a history of criminal behavior.

"The government rests its case on a parade of wayward witnesses who, simply put, lack the capacity to tell the truth," Connors said at the time.

A few days after the first verdict, Ford, who is suing the city over his encounter with Krug, was arrested in Lackawanna on a minor marijuana possession charge.

Krug, who is charged with deprivation of rights under color of law and is currently on suspension, could lose his job on the force and go to prison if convicted.

Lawyers on both sides of the case declined to comment on the upcoming trial.

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