BOWLING GREEN —
A native of Barren County, Alexander told the jury that “our county has suffered from this situation.” Barren County has good law enforcement, Alexander said, and this prosecution of three of its officers has put a strain on the community.
The defendants are presumed innocent until the government proves their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Alexander reminded the jury. “Reasonable force” is an important phrase to remember in this case. A convicted felon who was high on meth, had a history of fleeing police and was holding something in his hand would have required a certain amount of force to apprehend. There was not a lot of time in that altercation of Feb. 24, 2010, for reflection, Alexander said, and the officers were making split-second decisions to secure a criminal. While the government alleges a severe beating, Stinnett suffered no permanent or long-term injuries, no broken bones.
The defendants actually did Stinnett a favor that day, Alexander said. In prison, Stinnett testified that he now eats and sleeps regularly, works out and is off methamphetamine.
Bennett’s broken hand has been used by the prosecution as proof that he assaulted Stinnett, Alexander said, but the medical evidence shows that Stinnett’s head laceration was not the result of a fist strike, or multiple fist strikes. There is no way to tell when Bennett broke his hand, or how exactly he broke it.
“I don’t think there is any proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Aaron Bennett did anything beyond what was reasonably necessary,” Alexander said.
While the girls testified they saw officers punching Stinnett, Alexander said from a second story window it would look like the officers were punching Stinnett if they were trying to dig his arms out from under him in order to get him handcuffed.