Former Citronelle chief will face third trial, judge rules

Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 5:00 AM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Former Citronelle Police Chief Tyler Norris will face trial for the third time on charges that he used excessive force during a traffic stop, a federal judge ruled Monday.

The first two trials ended in hung juries, and the former chief’s lawyers argued that U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose should acquit him without another trial on grounds that no reasonable jury could convict him based on the evidence.

But DuBose rejected the argument.

“Upon consideration, the Court concludes that a rational trier of fact, considering the facts presented at trial, could find all of the essential elements,” she wrote in a one-page order.

Norris faces two charges – deprivation of rights under color of law and witness tampering. The first charge relates from a high-speed chase that started about 5 p.m. on June 30, 2021, on a side street and continued down U.S. 45. The driver, Isaiah McCree, acknowledged during testimony that he neared 100 mph before pulling into the parking lot of Citronelle Elementary School.

McCree, who was 20 years old at the time, testified that Norris got into his car and kneed him in the abdomen. Prosecutors played footage from police body cameras.

The second charge stems from an interview that Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigators conducted with Norris 2½ months after the incident. Prosecutors alleged the chief lied about it.

Jury selection for trial No. 3 is scheduled to begin on June 12. DuBose gave prosecutors until May 31 to submit a memo outlining their argument for why jurors should be able to hear audio from police body camera footage. The defense will have until June 7 to respond.