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Ex-Durham Cop Acquitted in Assault Case

A former Durham police officer involved in a fight at a sports bar in July 2006 has been acquitted.

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Steve Tanner
RALEIGH, N.C. — A former Durham police officer has been acquitted of assault charges.

A Wake County jury Thursday acquitted Scott Tanner, one of several officers involved in an incident outside of a sports bar in 2006.

Rene Dennis Thomas said he was involved in an altercation with Tanner and a group of men in the parking lot of Blinco's Sports Restaurant & Bar on Glenwood Avenue on July 20, 2006.

Tanner and another officer, Gary P. Lee, were fired from the Durham Police Department following an internal investigation into the incident.

In October 2006, a judge dismissed the charges against Tanner and Lee, saying the state did not prove the offense occurred in Wake County. A Superior Court judge later vacated the dismissal and in April 2007, Tanner was found guilty of assault. Tanner appealed the decision.

Lee was found not guilty in connection with the assault. Defense attorneys said Lee was protecting Tanner, who had been hospitalized a month before with cancer.

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