Testimony begins in excessive force trial

September 14, 2009 8:48:07 AM PDT
Testimony begins today in the trial of Baytown police officer Jon Fitzgerald. He was charged with official oppression after an internal affairs investigation found he used excessive force during a November 2008 arrest.Testimony in the case is set to begin this afternoon. Much of it is expected to center on the events of November 13. That's when Fitzgerald is accused of abusing his power by repeatedly hitting a suspect in the head.

That day, Fitzgerald and a fellow officer had pursued 24-year-old Ryan Sanders, a motorcyclist who was evading arrest, into a local apartment complex. During the chase, Sanders crashed and was pinned under his motorcycle.

The second officer on scene reportedly told investigators Fitzgerald grabbed the suspect's head and repeatedly slammed it against a nearby curb. Fitzgerald denied the accusation, but was nevertheless charged with official oppression.

Fitzgerald has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of this case. If convicted, he could serve up to a year behind bars.

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