Hung jury in Bridges McRae trial

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A jury was deadlocked Monday in the trial of former Memphis police officer Bridges McRae, who was charged with federal civil rights violations in a February 2008 beating at the Shelby County Jail.

Jurors returned from deliberations at 2:00 p.m. Monday, writing the judge a note that said they could not reach a verdict.

"Your Honor, we have done our best to reach a verdict, but we remain deadlocked. There has been no change in anyone's point of view," the note said.

The judge declared a mistrial, with the jury deadlocked at 11 in favor of conviction, and one against.

"I believe they worked very hard," said McRae's attorney, Frank Tapp. "I believe that most of them agreed that a six-foot-five, 250 pound arrestee who wasn't cooperating is somebody subject to excessive force."

McRae was accused of exercising unreasonable force, using a dangerous weapon and causing bodily injury to someone in his custody, namely, Duana Johnson, a transgendered woman he arrested for prostitution.

After the arrest, McRae was videotaped in the sally port area of Shelby County Criminal Justice Center as he beat Johnson.

Prosecutors said McRae used his handcuffs to beat a defenseless person, but defense attorneys said he was merely trying to subdue an unruly prisoner.

Gay and lesbian groups later called the beating a hate crime.  McRae was fired from the Memphis Police Department following the incident.

After the mistrial was declared, Johnson's friends and family said they would be back, and prosecutors told the judge they wanted to set a date for a new trial.

McRae, meanwhile, was relieved after waiting five days for a verdict.

"The whole past couple weeks I'd pray and rely on God to give me strength and to give me peace," he said after the mistrial was declared.

McRae was indicted in November of 2008. He faced up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

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