RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two Richmond police officers are in the clear tonight. They were found not guilty of charges of intimidating witnesses and trying to cover-up a crime.
There was a huge sigh of relief from family and friends in the courtroom this afternoon when the verdicts were read. It took an all female jury, a little over an hour to decide both Richmond police officers were not guilty of trying to impede a police investigation.
"We're very happy. We're very happy. We're just glad that the jury listened to the evidence and we think this jury did the right thing," said John Rockecharlie, McCloskey's attorney.
"I think the jury is the conscious of the community and the conscious of the community spoke loud and clear," said House's attorney Will Hutchens.
The jury listened to two days of testimony about an assault in a bar. Officer Ian McCloskey was off duty and admits to punching a man several times in the head, drawing blood. But what happened after the assault is what the jury didn't believe.
Prosecutors contended that responding Officer William House tried to cover for his friend. Downplaying the crime and failing to take witness information. McCloskey was accused of intimidating a witness who identified him. Special Prosecutor Thomas Shaia had one major reason for bringing this case to a jury.
"The way they treated the people that were trying to report the crimes," said Shaia.
But the attorneys for Officer William House say it's the officers who should have been treated better.
"Since he was a little boy all he wanted to do was be a police officer. This could have ended his dream," said Suzette Hutchens, House's attorney.
"The stress placed upon his family and upon him for these many, many months has led him to the decision to leave the state of Virginia and go to Texas," Will Hutchens said.