Darnell Reed, arrested April 1, 2013, was beaten to a bloody pulp, by two city police officers, after a traffic stop. Reed, a drug dealer, who was sentenced to nine years in prison after the jury convicted him of resisting arrest, will get a new trial.
A jury found him not guilty of seven drug and other related charges and found him guilty of just a single charge: resisting arrest.
On Thursday an appellate court panel ruled that Reed was denied a fair trial because the judge did not instruct the jury to consider whether Reed was justified in defending himself against police brutality. The decision said the evidence “supported a finding that the officers used unnecessary and excessive force” and that the jury should have been instructed on the self-defense charge.
The appellate decision rests on decades of court precedents, including a 1970 state Supreme Court case that outlines the rights of citizens to defend themselves against police brutality.
“If in effectuating the arrest or the temporary detention the officers employs excessive and unnecessary force, the citizen may respond or counter with the use of reasonable force to protect himself, and if in doing so the officer is injured no criminal offense has been committed,” the court said in State v. Mulvihill.