Jury deliberates case against sheriff’s deputy

Ken Achtyl trial nearing conclusion

Mike Baggerman
September 27, 2019 - 12:32 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Jury in the Ken Achtyl trial is in deliberations over whether the Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy committed assault and official misconduct in the December 2017 arrest of Nicholas Belsito.

Belsito was arrested by Achtyl at a Bills tailgate after he swore at the officer over an interaction of where his arrested friend was being taken to.

Defense attorney Rodney Personius told jurors on Friday that they must look at Deputy Achtyl’s intent to leave the vehicle. He argued that the entire course of conduct, between the rowdy tailgaters and beers thrown at officer, contributed to the hostile environment.

“The cursing wasn’t the reason for the arrest of Belsito,” Personius said. “It was the straw, not the bale.”

Prosecutors argued, though, that the lead-up to the incident at the car window had no significance in this case. Seven minutes passed between the arrest of Belsito’s friend, Dylan Lowry, and the initial approach to the window by Belsito.

“(Swearing) was (the straw),” Attorney James Marra said. “The curse set off the anger and rage of the defendant...You have the right to curse at police officers. You probably shouldn’t.”

Achtyl did not testify in his brutality case. Personius describes it as the “pink elephant” in the case and said that his client didn’t testify because he has confidence in the presumption of innocence.

The jury was told that the burden of proof is on the prosecution and that Achtyl is presumed innocent unless there is convincing evidence.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for updates. 

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