Tafoya Found Not Guilty of Excessive Force Charges

FRESNO, Calif.                   |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

After years of investigation ... two months of trial ... and 22 hours of deliberations ... Marcus Tafoya had a huge load lifted.

His attorney Marshall Hodgkins said, "This is total vindication for Mr. Tafoya. When you consider the main incident was the Mono and Jackson incident and he was found not guilty on all of those counts."

/*Marcus Tafoya*/ never emerged from the courtroom to face the cameras. Marshall Hodgkins said his client was too emotional to make a statement.

Most of the charges in the case stem from a party in March of 2005 at this home near the Fresno Fairgrounds. Marcus Tafoya claims that he was attacked by partygoers and feared for his life. But partygoers claim it was Tafoya who attacked them with a police baton. One of the party goers sued the city over the incident and received a one point six million dollar settlement ... the largest settlement ever paid out by the city involving a Fresno Police Officer.

Marcus Tafoya has had nearly 20 excessive force complaints and has been involved in four shootings during his tenure with the police department ... three of them fatal. He was fired in 2007. Nevertheless ... he is going through arbitration to get his job back.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said he stands by his decision to fire Tafoya.

Chief Dyer said, "He has been terminated ... from the Fresno Police Department ... that termination was not based on the outcome of any criminal trial."

The Deputy DA in the case had no comment after the verdict ... but Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan said in a statement, "I commend the courage of the witnesses who came forward to report wrongdoing by an officer. Prosecuting a case against a law enforcement officer is as difficult as it is distasteful."

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