Jury in Dennard trial unable to reach verdict Tuesday

The jury in the Alfonzo Dennard case in Lincoln, Neb., got the cornerback’s case on Tuesday, but a decision had not been reached by 6 p.m. local time, meaning deliberations will resume on Wednesday.

Dennard is facing three counts: a third-degree felony charge of assaulting a police officer, a misdemeanor assault charge and a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge from an incident last April 21.

Just days before the start of the NFL draft, the Nebraska standout was reportedly celebrating with friends and family in Lincoln, that night. It was when the bars were letting out that Dennard is alleged to have assaulted another college student, Ben Samani, and then punched police officer Ben Kopsa as Kopsa was trying to arrest him.


According to the Lincoln Journal-Sentinel, Kopsa testified that he saw Dennard punch Samani in the face, but when Samani was on the stand, he said Dennard had only punched him lightly in the chest.

When he took the stand in his own defense on Friday, Dennard admitted resisting arrest by swatting Kopsa’s hands away when Kopsa tried to put his hands behind his back to handcuff him.

But in closing arguments on Tuesday, Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Matt Acton as well as defense attorney Terry Dougherty, pointed to a 17-second video shot by an onlooker.

Acton told jurors that it is clear in the video that Kopsa was lifted off the ground and sent back several feet thanks to a punch to the jaw by Dennard.

According to Acton, it was the “200 pounds worth of force being applied to his face” that sent Kopsa reeling.

However, Kopsa requested no medical attention, and there was only a small cut behind his ear. A state forensic scientist has testified that the blood behind Kopsa’s ear was his own, and blood on Dennard’s hand was his own.

Dougherty countered that if jurors watch the video, they’ll see that Dennard did not throw a punch, and that the officer may have been jumping out of the way.


An attorney not involved in the case told the Globe that it was a tactical move for Dennard’s lawyer to have him admit to resisting arrest, as it gave Dennard accountability and may increase the odds of him being acquitted on the felony charge, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

However, if Dennard is found guilty on the resisting arrest charge, he could still face punishment. That charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and $1,000 fine.

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