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Jury clears Buffalo cop in brutality case

After a four-day trial, his second this year, Buffalo Police Officer Corey Krug walked out of the courtroom Tuesday cleared of the allegations that have dogged him for four years.

A federal court jury found Krug, an 18-year police veteran, not guilty of using excessive force against a Lackawanna man.

The verdict, announced Tuesday afternoon, ends a prosecution that began with a WKBW-TV video of Krug's confrontation with Devin Ford on Thanksgiving Day morning in 2014.

The video led to an FBI investigation and allegations that Krug acted as a human "battering ram" when he crossed paths with Ford on Chippewa Street during one of the busiest party nights of the year.

"The stress is over," Krug said after the verdict. "I just want to get back to work so I can repair my career, repair my reputation."

When the verdict was announced, several members of Krug's family cried.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the verdict, which is the second acquittal for Krug in as many trials. At a trial earlier this year, a jury cleared him of using excessive force in two other incidents.

"It's been a long time coming," said defense attorney Terrence M. Connors. "All of us, the families, the lawyers, are ecstatic about the verdict."

During last week's trial, Krug countered the government's allegations by portraying Ford, now 27, as the bad guy and suggesting his actions that night were necessary and reasonable.

In the end, the jury believed Krug.

“We respect the result because it was the product of a fair process designed and undertaken in order to ensure that all people receive equal treatment under the law," U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said in a statement Tuesday.

Buffalo Police Officer Corey Krug , left, and defense attorney Terrence Connors said the not guilty verdict was a "long time coming.” (Phil Fairbanks/Buffalo News)

Kennedy added that, "a jury of Officer Krug’s peers evaluated the evidence, including the video of the incident, and determined that no violation of federal law occurred.”

Ford could not be reached for comment Tuesday but his lawyer said his client's legal fight didn't end with the criminal case. Ford also has a civil lawsuit against the city.

"We are disappointed in the result reached by the jury, but our fight is not over," said attorney Christopher Pannozzo. "Devin looks forward to his day in court."

Last week, during his second time on the witness stand, Ford told the jury that Krug used his nightstick to slam him against the hood of a car and drive him to the ground. He said Krug also hit him repeatedly on his legs.

"It all happened so fast," he told the jury. "Before I could even blink, I was on the ground."

Krug's defense team attacked Ford's credibility throughout the trial and tried unsuccessfully to introduce evidence of his criminal record, most notably an arrest last week in connection with a domestic incident at his home.

The arrest was on the same day he was scheduled to testify against Krug.

Outside the presence of the jury, Lackawanna Police Officer Robert Chmielowiec testified that Ford never mentioned Krug by name but made mention of him during their encounter at his home.

"He said, 'I don't have time for this, it was a family argument, and I have to go screw someone,' " the officer told U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Federal prosecutors challenged the officer's account and said Ford denies making the statement. They also suggested Ford might have been set up by police.

"This arrest, this whole incident was, I don't want to say manufactured, but it was somehow blown out of proportion," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango.

Currently on suspension, Krug could have lost his job if convicted. He was charged with deprivation of rights under color of law.

His defense team included Herbert L. Greenman and Nicholas A. Romano.

Videotaped cop was sued 3 times for excessive force

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