Police Brutality Trial To Begin in Durham
Posted October 22, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
DURHAM — Officers of the Durham Police Department are once again on trial for misconduct. A man claims police unnecessarily beat him with a flashlight, and he's suing the department.
The city of Durham just settled a police misconduct case out of court a few weeks ago for $295,000. In this case, Reginald Craig claims two police officers repeatedly beat him and sprayed him in the face with pepper spray for no reason. The officers claim self-defense.
Craig said the incident three years ago makes him a victim of police brutality. Alexander Charns, Craig's attorney, said anyone who cares about the constitution should care about this case.
Durham officer J.R. Cleary and former officer M.U. Nischan said they hit Craig in self-defense before making a justifiable arrest. The trial could last a month, and some high-profile witnesses, like former police chief Jackie McNeil, are expected to testify.
This is not the only brutality case to fall under McNeil's tenure. A.J. Craig said her husband is just one of many victims.
Craig comes to court from jail everyday; he's locked up for parole violations. His case is a civil suit, so he's looking for a monetary settlement. Jury selection was still underway Wednesday morning.