Local News

Graphic Testimony Set Pace in Police Trial Monday

Posted October 27, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Testimony in the civil case against the Durham Police Department got graphic Monday. Reginald Craig says two officers brutally beat him with a flashlight at a traffic stop three years ago. Monday, the jury heard descriptions of his injuries.

On a busy night, a Durham magistrate can see 40 people. The magistrate who testified Monday says he has had thousands of people come before him in his 13 years on the job, but Steven Speller testified he's never seen anyone in the shape Craig was in on the night of October 16, 1994.

Speller was there when Craig's injuries were photographed. He said he also has a great deal of respect for Jim Cleary, one of the officers charged in the case and that he's never known Cleary to do wrong.

Fred Robinette, and expert witness called by the defense, said there is rarely any action taken against police who brutalize citizens.

The doctor who examined Craig the night of the alleged beating is expected to testify Tuesday. A videotaped deposition of one of the accused officers is expected to be played.

Former police chief Jackie McNeill and some city council members will be heard from after that.

Photographer:Ed Wilson