FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A jury has delivered a not guilty verdict in the trial of a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy accused of falsifying a police report on a pepper spraying incident involving a teenager.
The verdict arrives hours after the judge denied Deputy Ralph Mackey’s defense team’s motion for acquittal Thursday.
“We’re pleased that the court dismissed the conspiracy charge outright, and the jury did the rest of the job,” said Robert Buschel, Mackey’s defense attorney. “Detective Mackey looks forward to going back to work as a Broward Sheriff’s Deputy.”
The prosecutors argued that Mackey lied in his report in favor of his colleagues.
“This was written to help his friends,” prosecutor Justin McCormack said, holding up the highlighted police report, “to help my sergeant and his partner, who committed a violent act that was unjustifiable.”
“It is not a crime to write a report,” Buschel said. “Mackey did not conceal anything. He did not hide anything.”
Those were the closing arguments for the trial of Mackey, who faces misdemeanor charges of falsifying a police report after an incident in Tamarac last April, when deputies responded to reports of a fight and took two teens into custody.
One of the teens was Rolle, who was thrown to the ground after being pepper sprayed.
Rolle testified Wednesday afternoon.
“The police officers pushed me, and I got up, and I said, I told him, ‘Thank you,'” Rolle said, “and then, after that, he pepper sprayed me.”
Two other deputies involved in the pepper spraying incident are facing battery charges.
Prosecutors said Mackey falsified his report of the incident.
“Fiction, reality. Cover-up, reality,” a prosecutor said as he held Mackey’s police report in one hand and discs containing bodycam footage of the arrest on the other.
Defense attorneys said referencing his bodycam footage was all Mackey was required to do.
“A body-worn camera footage is a page in the report,” Buschel said.
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