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The following article is the property of the Peoria Journal Star. Copyright 2010 pjstar.com. Some rights reserved.

By ANDY KRAVETZ (akravetz@pjstar.com)

Journal Star Posted Nov 12, 2010 @ 10:50 AM Last update Nov 12, 2010 @ 10:54 AM

PEORIA —

Charges against two Peoria police officers accused of misconduct in connection with the beating and shocking of Bryce Scott in May 2008 were dropped Friday morning, one of the men’s attorneys confirmed.

Defense Attorney Christopher McCall said his client, Jeremy Layman, and the other officer, Gerald Suelter, had arrived in court for a scheduling conference Friday morning when they were told the cases were being dismissed.

That comes on the heels of a Peoria County jury finding a third officer, Andrew Smith, not guilty last week of all charges in connection with the May 3, 2008, incident. That jury deliberated only 90 minutes before finding Smith not guilty of misconduct, aggravated battery, mob action and battery.

“Mr. Layman had the rare occurrence of being involved in the criminal justice system from multiple vantage points,” McCall said. “As a witness, as a defendant and some may argue as a victim. My client will be happy to go back to work and serve the city of Peoria as he has done for years.

“This encounter will make him a better officer as he experienced multiple facets of the criminal justice system,” the attorney said.

The dismissals mean Layman and Suelter, who have been on unpaid leave since their arrest in March 2009, could be back on the street soon. After the Smith verdict, City Attorney Randy Ray said the city would abide by its contract with the union and “make the officer whole” beginning with taking him off unpaid leave.

Scott was kicked, stunned with a Taser and punched after he was stopped at foot of the Abington Street. He had just gotten out of his car after leading police on a several-block, high-speed chase from his girlfriend’s house in the North Valley.

A video taken from Layman’s dashboard camera showed the officer arrive at the girlfriend’s house and shine a spotlight on Scott’s car, which then fled. The tape ends with the struggle to take Scott into custody.

Smith was charged with stomping on Scott’s legs while Suelter was accused of using his Taser to excess when he stunned Scott three times within a minute. Layman was accused of turning off the video camera.

The video never showed what happened on the ground. Police have long maintained that Scott was resisting their attempts to handcuff him and had grabbed an officer’s leg. Scott testified at Smith’s trial that he complied with all commands and was abused only after he was cuffed.

Scott has since been sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison on heroin trafficking charges.
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