Durham officer acquitted in Blinco case

April 25, 2008 9:45:47 AM PDT
A former Durham police officer has been acquitted of assault charges by a Wake County jury.

Scott Tanner was previously convicted by a judge in Wake District Court of simple assault. But Tanner appealed that case to Wake Superior Court and the case was heard this week by a jury.

After three days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, that jury found Tanner not guilty late Thursday.

The incident happened in July 2006 when Tanner and several other Durham officers were leaving Blinco's Sports Bar on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.

There was an altercation with a Blinco's cook, Rene Thomas, who was taking a break behind the restaurant. Thomas exchanged words with some of the officers and racial slurs were used according to testimony this week.

The testimony indicated that one of the officers, Gary Lee, took a swing at Thomas and missed but dragged Thomas to the ground. Tanner allegedly kicked Thomas while he was down.

Apparently jurors didn't believe Tanner connected and overturned the lower court conviction. Gary Lee was acquitted last year in district court when the judge ruled he was defending Tanner.


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