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Jury acquits Denver sergeant of assaulting teen during chase

Posted at 6:31 PM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 20:31:34-04

DENVER (AP) — A jury has acquitted a Denver police officer accused of beating a 17-year-old with a metal baton, breaking the teen’s nose and one of his ankles.

The Denver Post reports Sgt. Joseph Rodarte was found not guilty Wednesday of two counts of second-degree assault stemming from the August 2018 incident.

According to court records, Rodarte and other officers responded to a complaint about a person yelling obscenities, and Rodarte struck the teen several times as he ran from police. Defense attorney Chad Williams argued at trial that Rodarte used reasonable force and that the teen repeatedly resisted arrest, threatened officers and tried to escape.

Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, says prosecutors are “obviously disappointed” but they respect the jury’s decision.