Questions raised about jury in former officer's trial


The second day of the official oppression trial of former HPD officer Drew Ryser was filled with lengthy delays and side-bar conversations at the judge's bench.

Community activist Krystal Muhammad said, "This whole issue is very suspect."

The main problem was a missing juror who bailiffs couldn't reach for nearly four hours. It was a brief mystery, of sorts, that had many concerned citizens in the courtroom gallery buzzing.

Community activist Quanell X said, "There's a lot happening all of a sudden in 24 hours with this jury that we didn't know about yesterday."

And the problems didn't stop there. Ryser's defense lawyers and prosecutors also talked to the judge about alleged issues with a second juror, after the bailiff informed the judge he was approached by three people concerned that the woman may have been sleeping during witness testimony on Monday. The judge says he spoke to that juror who assured him she was fine.

"Obviously, there are some problems with the jury pool and with the jury makeup right now," said Quanell X. "I'm hoping and praying that the judge will take some time to question all the jurors in this case, and make sure there are not some ongoing problems with the jury."

During the down time, Ryser sat in the courtroom gallery surrounded by his family and supporters.

Ryser is accused of mistreating Chad Holley during a burglary arrest that was caught on tape back in 2010. Prosecutors say the former gang task force officer kicked and punched Holley, and rubbed his face into the ground.

Three other officers were also charged in this case. One was acquitted and two others took plea deals.

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