A man charged with pepper spraying San Diego police officers during a heated protest last year has been acquitted of all charges.
A jury on Thursday found Denzel Draughn, 29, not guilty of eight felonies: two counts of using tear gas on officers and six counts of resisting officers.
Prosecutors contended that Draughn pepper sprayed 11 officers during the protest against police violence in downtown San Diego on Aug. 28, 2020.
The charges stemmed from a confrontation between officers and protesters during a demonstration five days after the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis.
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Deputy Public Defender Damian Lowe told jurors Draughn sprayed the officers because he saw a group of them tackling a man to the ground, then punching and kicking him.
“From his point of view, these officers are attacking these protesters,” Lowe said during opening statements.
Draughn’s case garnered support from some community members, in part because he was initially detained on $750,000 bail — which supporters said was an excessive amount. During arraignment, a judge lowered bail to $150,000, and Draughn posted bail.
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