BOWLING GREEN —
The other reality is the daily reality of a law enforcement officer, Butler said. On Feb. 24, 2010, those officers rounded a corner to come face-to-face with a man high on methamphetamine, holding something in his hand and looking frantic.
“It’s not hyperbole to say they didn’t know if they were gonna live or die that day,” Butler said.
Those children in the church may not have been intentionally lying, Butler said, but their accounts of a violent beating don’t match the physical evidence in the case. There was no evidence on Stinnett’s body of the alleged 15 baton strikes to the legs. The witness was wrong, Butler said.
“I think dramatic situations lead to recollections that are unreliable,” Butler said.
The government tried to fix holes in its case by coercing and intimidating witnesses into telling stories that filled gaps in their case, and then trying to ignore facts that didn’t help the prosecution, Butler told the jury.
The church witnesses all described officers in brown uniforms beating Stinnett, he said, and prosecutors used a photo of Guffey in a brown coat to suggest that his coat blended in with the uniforms. But Guffey told the FBI he was wearing a black vest when he helped arrest Stinnett, Butler said, and FBI agent Mike Brown left that detail out of his report. Even one of the church witnesses said one or more officers backed away from the scene after Stinnett was handcuffed, Butler said.
The only person who places Guffey at the scene while Stinnett was being assaulted is Adam Minor, the government’s cooperating witness. Since taking a plea, Minor has been the government’s “fix-it man,” Butler said, filling any gaps in the story of the alleged beating.
Minor has signed a binding plea agreement, Butler told the jury, so what happens to him is now completely up to the government based on whether prosecutors like what he has done for them.