AUSTIN, Texas — A Travis County jury acquitted a former Austin Police Department officer accused of excessive use of force during an arrest in 2017.
Nathaniel Stallings, 44, had been accused of abuse of official capacity and official oppression. Those are both class A misdemeanors.
The trial started on Oct. 11. That day also marked the first officer trial under Travis County District Attorney José Garza. On Monday, Oct. 17, the jury deliberated and found Stallings not guilty of one count of abuse of official capacity and one count of official oppression.
“We are grateful for our community members who served in the grand jury and trial for this case,” said Travis County District Attorney José Garza. “We respect the juror’s decision and thank them for their service.”
According to a report from KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman, Stallings resigned from the department but he was indicted in 2018 – when Margaret Moore served as district attorney – on charges of assault with bodily injury involving official misconduct and abuse of official capacity.
Stallings was accused of grabbing a woman's hands and body, causing her head to strike a car when she was arrested in 2017. At that time, then-chief Brian Manley reported that Stallings' use of force was unnecessary. Manley also reported that the woman was a sex worker and, during her arrest, officers released the man who was reportedly soliciting her with only a warning.
Stallings was on trial facing one count of abuse of official capacity and one count of official oppression. Previously, a grand jury indicted him on additional official oppression counts – charges that have since been dropped.
The Statesman reported that Stallings was represented by defense attorney Brad Heilman, a former Austin police officer who was also previously charged and acquitted on an official oppression charge involving the use of force.
Statesman reporter Katie Hall was on-hand reporting during day one of the trial. Read her full report.
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