Judge tells jury to keep deliberating in cop-patient clash
Despite telling a judge that members were deadlocked, a jury will resume deliberations Tuesday in the trial of a Detroit police corporal accused of repeatedly punching a naked and mentally ill woman inside a hospital last summer.
Dewayne Jones is on trial for misdemeanor assault and battery before 36th District Court Judge Kenneth King.
After deliberating for nearly three hours, jurors sent out a note Monday afternoon saying they were deadlocked, but King sent them back into deliberations in hopes of reaching a verdict.
"I'm not going to declare a hung jury until the jury has been deliberating for 2-3 days," King said.
A few minutes later, the jury of three women and three men sent out a note asking how police training "pertains to the law." King gave the jury instructions regarding the misdemeanor assault and battery charge and the elements of the law.
At the heart of the case is whether Jones used excessive force when he punched the woman several times in Detroit Receiving Hospital. His attorney has maintained that Jones was justified in hitting the woman because to protect himself and others.
Jones, an 18-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, encountered the naked woman near the hospital around 7:10 p.m. Aug 1 after he and his partner, Officer Stacey Taylor, were called there on a "lewd and lascivious" report.
Several witnesses, including hospital staff, testified last week in the officer's trial. One of those witnesses, a hospital worker, said Jones "lost it" after the 29-year-old Detroit man spit at him in the trauma-patient area.
"Once the spitting started, everything went crazy," said Rebecca Means, a patient representative for the hospital.
Means said she didn't witness every part of the incident but said she could "hear" the woman spitting.
Means and a nurse, Mindy Drain, testified they saw the patient acting aggressively.
Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Joshua Holman told jurors during opening arguments Thursday that Jones "landed" several blows on the mentally ill woman, hitting her in the head, shoulder and back as many as 13 times during the 15-second incident.
"(The woman) was going through a clear mental breakdown," Holman said. "It was clear she was not in her right mind. Some say Officer Jones did not have a right to strike (the woman). She did not represent any physical threat."
Jones' defense attorney Pamella Szydlak told jurors in her opening statement that the mentally ill woman spit on her client and bit him twice.
Szydlak said Jones was taking the woman into the hospital's crisis unit to be evaluated. She said the officer got a sheet for the woman, covered her up and took her inside.
The defense attorney said shortly after the woman was in the hospital, she became "vulgar, violent and aggressive."
"You can see the anger in her face, the venom in her face," said Szydlak, adding that the woman became more aggressive in spite of Jones' efforts to calm her and protect hospital staff.
Felony charges were dismissed against Jones in January by Judge Cylenthia Miller, who said the woman "was completely out of control" and that Jones "had the presence of mind" to get control of her.
If found guilty of the misdemeanor charge, Jones could face up to 93 days in jail and be fined $500.