A fired Dallas police officer who hit a man on a bicycle during a pursuit was found not guilty on Friday.
Officer Bryan Burgess’ acquittal happened four years ago to the day Fred Bradford, 51, was hit by burgess, who was chasing Bradford in his patrol car. Bradford died days later.
The jury spent less than two hours deliberating before they clearing burgess of a criminally negligent homicide charge. He faced as many as ten years in prison if convicted.
A juror told FOX4 they felt the state simply did not have enough evidence to support the charge against officer burgess. The former Dallas police officer looked emotional shortly after the judge announced the not guilty verdict.
On April 21, 2013, Burgess and his partner saw Bradford reach into a parked car. Burgess turned on his lights and sirens, but Bradford peddled away on a bicycle.
The state argued burgess followed at an unsafe distance, which is why he ultimately hit and killed Bradford. Prosecutors contend that he then moved his squad car and bicycle to cover up the evidence.
District attorney Faith Johnson attended parts of the trial and said the DA's office stands by its decision to charge Burgess.
“This was a case we thought the officer was negligent. We thought that and proceeded and thought we had the evidence. But of course we respect the jury verdict. We're not going to ever argue with that,” said Faith Johnson, Dallas County District Attorney.
Burgess did not speak to reporters after the verdict, but his lawyer did.
"Overwhelming relief, these cases shake you to the core. You are representing good people who are doing their job,” said Robert Rogers, defense attorney. “He started his shift that night looking for crime. Trying to be proactive and trying to do his job. That's what this was, a tragic accident. We're sorry it happened. Overwhelming relief that finally, finally after four years we have justice.”
Virginia Bradford, the mother of the victim was in the hospital on Friday. His other family members did not want to talk.
Burgess's attorney said he will now begin the process to try to get his job back with the Dallas Police Department.