ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The fate of a former Albuquerque Police Department officer accused of using excessive force is now in the hands of an Albuquerque jury.
Connor Rice is shown on lapel camera video allegedly crossing the line with two suspects last year.
He took the stand Wednesday in his own defense. The jury got the case around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday after hearing Rice testify he did what he was trained to do.
"Immediately when I got on him, he had his hands up here by his chest, like in kind of a low push up position, and I immediately felt him start to buck and move like he was trying to get up," explained Rice Wednesday.
Rice described the suspect as resisting when said he used "distraction techniques." The incident was captured on lapel camera video and shows Rice repeatedly striking a suspect in 2012 after a long pursuit.
Rice didn't document his distraction techniques in his report, which is against APD policy. He told the jury not mentioning the distraction technique was an administrative oversight on his part.
The former officer is also facing charges for shooting a Taser dart into another suspect after bursting into a suspected drug dealer's apartment without a warrant.
Closing arguments from both sides began late Wednesday afternoon. The defense claimed the suspects, who testified during the trial, were not credible witnesses.
"They came in here minimizing their own conduct, they lied on the day of the incident and they came in here and they lied to you," defense attorney Molly Schmidt-Nowara told the jury.
However, the prosecution argued to jurors that Rice's actions were unlawful.
"Talking to the sergeant: "Home boy we tased the (expletive) out of,'" said prosecutor Timothy Callaway, attorney for the state, quoting Rice as heard on the video after the incident. "Ladies and gentlemen, to the state that sounds like bragging."
Rice is facing battery and aggravated battery charges. Jurors deliberated for about 45 minutes Wednesday before being sent home. They're expected to continue deliberations Thursday morning.
Rice was fired from APD because of the charges. He'd been on the force for six years.
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