Nitro sergeant found not guilty of battery, false swearing charges

Jurors find Nitro Police Sgt. Timothy Jarrell not guilty on battery and false swearing charges. (WCHS/WVAH)

A jury has found a Nitro police sergeant accused of putting a man in a choke-hold not guilty on two misdemeanor charges of battery and false swearing.

Timothy Jarrell was found not guilty Wednesday in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

Jarrell had been with the department for more than 10 years when he was placed on paid administrative leave following an arrest in May 2016.

Jarrell was indicted in January 2017 on two misdemeanor charges of battery and false swearing. Prosecutors said he rendered a man unconscious in a choke-hold during an arrest that happened outside of Nitro city limits. Prosecutors also claim Jarrell wrote in a criminal complaint that the man under arrest, Jared Hester, became physically non-compliant during the arrest when he didn't.

The incident started on May 7, 2016, at the Mardi Gras Casino when Hester was asked to leave because he was too intoxicated.

Taking the stand Wednesday in his own defense, Jarrell said he was 100 percent justified in using the choke-hold. He said he believed the larger, stronger suspect was about to punch him.

Defense said during closing arguments that the charge was a witch hunt because Jarrell had raised complaints about the assistant chief and asbestos at the station.

Prosecutors said during closing arguments that Jarrell imposed his own “street tax” by choking out a drunken man.

The trial began on Monday.

Nitro Police Chief Bobby Eggleton issued a statement following the verdict.

“This has been a trying time for the Nitro Police Department and its members,” Eggleton said. “The not guilty verdict handed down today is still being discussed by the administration. Sgt. Jarrell has been terminated from the department but continues to have due process through civil service rules.”

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