A Travis County jury brought forth a not-guilty verdict late Wednesday for Austin police officers Robert Pfaff and Donald Petraitis after deliberating for six hours. The charges stemmed from a Feb. 16 incident in which the officers tasered Quentin Perkins, a man who was a witness to a shooting the officers responded to.
With a not-guilty verdict, the officers will be able to return to their job.
“We knew this decision was coming. This was a flawed prosecution to begin with. Finally, 10 months later we’re here. We look forward to returning these men back to their position with the police department on the SWAT team,” said defense attorney Ken Ervin after the verdict was read.
After being charged in February, the officers were put on leave without pay as investigations continued. The verdict means the officers have been criminally cleared but remain under investigation within the police department.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley has 30 days to decide if the officers broke policy when they used a Taser on Perkins, prosecutors argued in court the move was an excessive force because Perkins was on his knees and had his hands up. Chief Manley can issue a range of disciplinary action if any, including firing the officers.