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Mistrial declared in former Austin police officer’s trial after attorney collapses in apparent medical emergency

The officer faces multiple misdemeanor charges in a use-of-force case. This would’ve been the first time an officer faces trial under Travis County DA José Garza.

AUSTIN, Texas — Attorney Brad Heilman was outlining his defense of former Austin police officer Nathaniel Stallings before suddenly collapsing in what officials referred to as an undisclosed “medical emergency” on Tuesday.

Heilman was hospitalized but is reportedly in “good spirits.” Because it was unclear how long his hospitalization would be, Judge Brad Urrutia called a mistrial and called for a new trial to be rescheduled for August.

According to KVUE's media partners at the Austin-American Statesman, Urrutia spoke directly to jurors about the unfolding situation.

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"He sounded well, he sounded in good spirits and was obviously concerned about when we can get back to trial," he told jurors, relating to a phone call he had with Heilman a day after his collapse.

Heilman was representing Stallings in a use-of-force case for which he was indicted four years ago. Stallings faces multiple misdemeanor charges after being accused of forcefully arresting a woman in 2017. His trial was set to begin Tuesday.

According to the Statesman, Stallings reportedly slammed the woman’s head into his car multiple times during her arrest. Then-Police Chief Brian Manley issued a memo in which he said the amount of force used was unnecessary. Reports suggest the woman was a sex worker, and the man soliciting her was let go without a warning, a decision which Manley also criticized.

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Stallings faces one count of abuse of official capacity and three counts of official oppression. Each charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. 

Stallings resigned from the department in 2018 after his indictment. This would’ve been the first time a former officer faced a use-of-force trial under DA José Garza.

Heilman is a former officer himself and was acquitted on an official oppression charge in 2006. Details of his medical episode have not been disclosed.

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