Deliberation continues in McRae trial

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A verdict was expected Thursday in the trial of a former Memphis Police officer.

Bridges McRae is accused of violating the civil rights of transgendered prostitute Duanna Johnson during an arrest in 2008.

After hours of deliberating, US District Court Judge Thomas Anderson received a note from the jury.  The note said, "we are having issues with willfulness.  Can you better define willfulness?  Can you better define bad or evil purpose?"

Anderson then reread the instructions he gave to the jury on Wednesday and told jurors they had to decide if McRae willfully or intentionally violated Johnson's civil rights.  He then asked the jury to continue deliberating.

Outside the courtroom, McRae had very little to say about the trial.

"I'm going to redirect all questions to my attorney for the day," McRae said.  "Thank you, though.  No comment."

McRae's attorney, Frank Trapp, also declined to comment.

McRae was caught on video beating Johnson in the lobby of the Shelby County Correction Center in February of 2008.  Johnson claimed McRae assaulted her after she refused to respond to homophobic slurs.  McRae, however, testified that he was only defending himself from Johnson, who he described as aggressive.

Johnson was murdered during a separate incident and never got a chance to appear in court to give her side of the story.

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