A jury reached a verdict in a federal use of force trial against the Fort Myers Police Department.
Jurors ruled in favor of the two officers sued by Holley Jones after the 2018 encounter that led to his assignment.
The decision was made after nearly three hours of deliberation.
The incident happened at a 7-Eleven in Lee County in 2018. It was captured on the officers’ bodycams.
Jones filed a lawsuit against officers Andrew Barlow and Christian Robles.
The trial lasted three days. The jury heard from Barlow, Robles, and Jones.
Jones testified that officers had no reason to tease him because they had no reason to detain him.
Two officers are called to investigate a man who is disruptive and drunk at a gas station.
Robles testified that Jones did not match the description of the man they were looking for. Robles was the first responder, but not the one who pampered Jones.
On Wednesday, Barlow, Jones’ manager, testified and defended his actions on the stand.
Jones was arrested for violation of the peace and non-violent obstruction but those charges were later dismissed by the State Attorney’s Office.
The Fort Myers Police Department raided both officers following the investigation.
Although the officers were relieved to have this weight off their shoulders, their attorney said Officer Barlow, a rookie at the time, still carried it with him.
“It made him more reluctant and that worried me. He was injured because he had a physical conflict with someone instead of using his quest and that would have been his choice in this case to run in there and take care of the guy. I think it’s good to show the community that the jurors were behind the police in this case. “
Jones said while frustrated that he didn’t win the case, he walked away feeling heard and with dignity, unlike he did on April 15, 2018.
“I want to be heard. It’s something I want to be heard and respected just like anyone else was shopping in the media that day,” Jones said.
Jones and his attorneys said they are still figuring out whether they want to appeal the decision.
They believe they have a legal basis to do so.
As for the officers, they remain employed by the FMPD throughout the process and will return to work on Friday.
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