Jurors to deliberate FPD excessive force trial

The second trial of four Fresno officers accused of police brutality more than eight years ago is now with a jury.
February 8, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The second trial of four Fresno officers accused of police brutality more than eight years ago is now with a jury. Chris Coleman, Paul Van Dalen, Sean Plymale and Mike Manfredi are accused of using excessive force during the arrest of a domestic violence suspect.

This trial was a week shorter than the first one. Defense attorneys said they changed some of their tactics this time around. But prosecutors say the fact remains, the officers went too far, and then tried to cover it up in their reports.

Attorneys wheeled binders full of trial material out of the federal courthouse Friday after giving jurors their final plea for a not guilty verdict. Marshall Hodgkins represents former Fresno PD K-9 officer Sean Plymale.

"I think I concentrated more on what they don't have as opposed to arguing the credibility of the witnesses. The other co-defense council argued that," Plymale's Attorney Marshall Hodgkins said.

Attorney Paul Goyette represents officer Chris Coleman. He says he is confident the jury will return a not guilty verdict, even though a dismissed alternate juror told an investigator she believed the officers were guilty.

"The dismissed juror should have never been on the jury in the first place. But, no, we're getting a good feeling about the jury. We think the evidence has unfolded very well for the officers, including Mr. Coleman," Coleman's attorney Paul Goyette said.

US attorneys representing the United States told jurors to not be swayed by red herring claims made by defense attorneys intended to detract attention from the main issues.

Prosecutors say the officers abused their power then tried to cover it up. But, defense attorneys urged jurors to walk in the shoes of the officers, as they consider what was going on at the time they were accused of making unlawful decisions.

Hodgkins repeatedly told jurors he was frustrated with statements made by prosecutors and the case altogether.

"I hope the jury understands the ridiculousness of this entire charge against all four defendants," Hodgkins said.

The first trial ended in a hung jury. The jurors got instructions Friday afternoon and picked a foreman. They will begin deliberating Tuesday morning.


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