A federal court jury in Omaha has been unable to decide after a week-long trial whether a former Nebraska state trooper in the Panhandle violated the civils rights of a drunken Colorado driver by hitting him in the head with the butt of a rifle 5 years ago.
A federal judge declared a mistrial Thursday in Lindsey Bixby’s case after the jury forewoman said it had deadlocked 10-2 for acquittal following 2 1/2 days of deliberations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lecia Wright says prosecutors will evaluate their case further before making a decision on retrying Bixby.
The charge stemmed from a March 2016 high-speed chase in the Panhandle that lasted 50-minutes and reached speeds of 110 mph. Dashcam video showed Bixby hitting 32-year old Brian Davis on the side of the head with his AR 15 after Davis refused to get on the ground after the chase ended in Sioux County.
Four months after the incident, the dashcam video began circulating and Bixby resigned from the State Patrol. That appeared to be the end of it, but last year federal prosecutors indicted Bixby for violating Davis’ civil rights by using excessive force, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Bixby testified last week that he felt he was justified in using extreme force – possibly even deadly force, because Davis dropped his hands behind his waist, leading Bixby to believe, based on his experience and training, that the Coloradoan was going for a gun.
Prosecutor Wright, an assistant U-S Attorney, suggested during cross-examination that Bixby wanted to punish Davis or retaliate for the chase, which took place after Bixby had originally gone off-duty. He denied the accusation and said he simply wanted to knock Davis down and had actually swung for the shoulder, but missed.