PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The trial of a Millvale Police officer charged with violating a suspect’s civil rights by repeatedly zapping him with a stun gun, even after he was handcuffed, continued Tuesday.
Today, the prosecution rested its case against Nicole Murphy, who is currently suspended from the force.READ MORE: 100-Foot Slides At Mammoth Park To Reopen This Week
The final prosecution witness was Millvale Police Chief Derek Miller. He testified that Officer Murphy was not the first officer to report the tasing incident to him.
When he finally found out about it, it was reported to him that the victim was combative and that he spit on Murphy’s partner.
That partner, former officer Casey Bonincontro, testified Monday that he was not spit upon.
Miller also went over the download from the Taser, which indicated it had been activated 22 times.
However, testimony indicated it was used on the victim three times. The other activations could have been because the Taser malfunctioned, or was being tested for battery strength.
Federal Judge Arthur Schwab told lawyers for both sides to be ready to give closing arguments this afternoon.
The defense called EMT Keith Singleton, who testified he saw the man in custody kick officer Murphy in the chest during the encounter. After he was stunned the final time, he became apologetic and compliant.
The defense also called Pittsburgh Police officer Robert Swartzwelder as a use of force expert and he testified that under the totality of the circumstances, Officer Murphy’s use of a Taser on Thomas Jason James Smith was reasonable.READ MORE: Assistant Marching Band Director At Pennsylvania High School Charged With Distributing And Possessing Child Porn
The defense rested it case Tuesday afternoon, followed by closing arguments. The judge then gave the jury instruction in the law. They will begin deliberations on Wednesday morning.
Murphy doesn’t dispute she used the stun gun on Smith after his arrest for public drunkenness in September 2012. The 30-year-old officer contends she was justified in using it because she was trying to stop Smith from banging his head on a desk and office cubicle.
The FBI began investigating after someone leaked a 52-second cellphone video of the incident to Pittsburgh-area media outlets in early 2013.
On Monday, jurors saw the video on the opening day of the trial.
Bonincontro, videotaped a portion of the incident on his cell phone, which jurors saw Monday.
Bonincontro testified he took the video hoping to show it to doctors at Western Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic, where he argued the suspect should have been taken.
He said Murphy argued that the suspect, who was drunk, should go to jail.
The jury will reconvene for deliberations Wednesday.
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