SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A lawsuit accusing a Springfield Police Department officer of using excessive force ended with a hung jury today.
Devin Ledbetter accused SPD officer Brandon Helmers of using excessive force when Ledbetter was arrested in 2020. He’s suing for $8 million in damages.
Charlie Eblen, Ledbetter’s attorney, said he doesn’t see hung juries in civil cases very often.
“The jury was extremely attentive throughout the case,” Eblen said. “And again, in a case like this that involves questions of the use of force by the police, it’s not surprising that you had strong opinions on both sides.”
When Ledbetter was arrested in 2020, he pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon. Eblen said his client was at a homeless camp when he had an encounter with police and emerged from a tent with a knife in his hand.
“Our contention was that the officer in arrested Mr. Ledbetter picked him up and slammed him onto a concrete block after Mr. Ledbetter had complied with instructions and was unarmed and cooperative,” said Eblen. “And he suffered serious injuries from that, which included a dislocated hip, a broken pelvis and broken hip joint.”
Eblen said he was pleased with the presentation of evidence during the trial.
“We’re very appreciative of the work the jury did, they paid close attention the whole time, asked very good questions at the end,” Eblen said. “And clearly took their time to try and do the right thing and deliberate it for almost a full day.”
Moving forward, Eblen is looking at a re-trial.
“That’s our objective, is to get a re-trial,” said Eblen. “There’ll be some post-trial motions on legal issues that may impact, you know, when or if that happens.”
OzarksFirst reached out to Helmers’ attorney and the City of Springfield for comment but has not yet received a response.