FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A former Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy has been found not guilty of slamming a then 15-year-old student to the ground back in 2019.

A jury spent less than an hour deliberating before returning to the courtroom with their decision.

“I’m just a living testimony that no weapon formed against you shall prosper,” said Willard Miller. “I’m just gonna take it one day at a time. I’m just happy that the truth came out, and I’m happy that justice was served.”

Footage from school cameras on Sept. 25, 2019 showed the female student walking up behind Miller and tapping the back of his knees with her foot. There was no audio in the video, but it was clear words were exchanged.

About a minute later in the video, the deputy is seen grabbing the student by the neck and then slamming her to the ground.

Prosecutors were hopeful the video was all they needed for a guilty verdict but surprised it took jurors less than an hour to reach their verdict of not guilty.

Attorneys for the state argued Miller violated BSO regulations, including powering off his body-worn camera when interacting with the student and not filing a report after the incident.

“I’ll probably review the file and everything next week, but we put our case on, and you know, we respect the decision,” said prosecutor Justin McCormack.

Defense attorney Jeremy Kroll argued Miller did not intend to hurt the 15-year-old. Miller was the only witness for the defense, and him taking the stand for jurors to see firsthand his character, according to his attorney, was all the evidence they needed.

“I’d say primarily I’m staying next to a good man, and I think the jury, to their absolute credit, saw that,” said Kroll. “I also think that in a lot of these cases, there tends to be a snippet that people review when they look at it, and they draw conclusions from, and there’s often a lot more to a story than just that one moment or that one issue, and this was one of those cases, and I think with the benefit of all the additional information, the jury was able to come to a just and appropriate verdict.”

“Spent a long three years, you know, seeing all the things that was said about me knowing that it’s not true,” said Miller. “It’s kind of hard not being able to speak out on it, but now I’m able to be vindicated and everybody knows the truth.”

Miller was fired from the force in August 2021 after an investigation by internal affairs.

When asked by 7News whether or not he wants his job back or if he would be filing a wrongful termination suit, Miller and his attorney said that it’s too soon to make any decisions and that he’s happy to have his life back.

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