Grand Jury Clears White Police Officers in Beating of Black Officer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A grand jury refused to indict five white police officers Friday in the roughing-up of a black undercover officer last December.
Officer Reggie Miller was working on a prostitution sting Dec. 14 when police pulled over his unmarked, government-owned truck because the license tag had expired.
Miller accused Jeffrey Blewett, David Geary, Jeb Johnston, Brian Petty and Jeffrey Bauer of kicking him and gouging his eyes.
Blewett and Geary were fired after an internal investigation determined they used excessive force. The other three officers were cleared and reinstated.
The officers contended Miller failed to identify himself or respond to their commands. Miller blamed racism for the incident.
The case drew national attention because of the parallel to the beating of black motorist Rodney King by four white Los Angeles police officers in 1991.
The Davidson County district attorney’s office had proposed an indictment against Blewett only but asked the grand jury to review the incident for any other possible indictments.
″The grand jury finds no evidence of racism, police brutality or that anyone’s civil rights were violated by this case,″ said grand jury foreman Lytle Brown III. The grand jury was comprised of three blacks and nine whites.
Brown asked residents to remain calm, saying he feared they ″might seek to use this case as a forum to incite racism and cause things in the community to happen that should not happen.″
But both Metro Police Chief Bob Kirchner and Neal Darby, a spokesman for the Nashville chapter of NAACP, said they did not anticipate violence.
Kirchner has said the firings will not be reversed, despite the grand jury’s ruling.
Miller’s attorney, Richard Dinkins, did not return calls seeking comment.