While two police officers entered misdemeanor guilty pleas in the Beardsley Park stomping of a suspect, the third officer charged, Clive Higgins, went to trial. Wednesday afternoon he was cleared by a federal jury, showing once again the reluctance to convict cops. The city paid the suspect $200,000 to settle a civil legal claim in the matter.
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“I never stopped praying,” said Higgins, a 12-year police veteran who teaches Sunday School at Mount Aery Baptist Church. “I did a whole lot of praying. Now God has spoken.”
And Higgins maintains “I never did anything wrong.”
The jury’s decision is the third in recent weeks clearing a police officer of what activists like Scot X Esdaile, the state’s NAACP president, claim is police misconduct. From day one, the backlash sparked by decisions clearing an officer in the fatal shooting of a teen in Ferguson, Mo., and another in the choke hold death of a Staten Island man, hovered over this case.
“This result is very shocking,” said Esdaile. “It’s a gross miscarriage of justice.”
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