Triangle Briefs

Durham cop found not guilty of assault

From Staff ReportsApril 26, 2008 

— A former Durham police officer was acquitted Thursday afternoon by a Wake County jury on charges that he assaulted a cook at a North Raleigh sports bar.

Durham police officers Scott Christian Tanner and Gary Powell Lee were leaving Blinco's Sports Restaurant and Bar in Raleigh with a group when they encountered Rene Thomas, a line cook taking a break. The group exchanged words and blows with Thomas. Racial slurs were also reportedly used.

Both officers lost their jobs after the incident.

Tanner's case ended Thursday after three days of testimony. The jury deliberated for two hours.

It's not the first time the case has gone before a court.

A judge convicted Tanner of simple assault last April after the case was reinstated. Lee was acquitted by a judge then who ruled he was trying to defend Tanner.

On Friday, Tanner's attorney, Thomas C. Manning, said his client is excited that the case is over because it means he can now return to law enforcement. Tanner, Manning said, has been working for a private security firm for the last year. Manning said he is now working on getting the case expunged from Tanner's record.

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