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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Judge dismisses case against former officer

Judge dismisses case against former officer
The Tulsa World by Omer Gillham - February 1, 2011

A judge dismissed a misdemeanor assault and battery charge against a former police officer Monday because a key witness in his case failed to appear in court, records show. Eric J. Hill, 32, was charged Sept. 14 in Tulsa County District Court with one misdemeanor count of domestic assault and battery, records show. Hill also is expected to be a federal witness in a police corruption probe. The assault charge was filed by the Rogers County District Attorney's Office after the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office recused itself from the case. The victim, Lindsay Johnson, is a former victims advocate for the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office's Victim-Witness Center. Tulsa County Special District Judge Dawn Moody dismissed Hill's case Friday, citing the failure of a witness to appear, records show. Hill's attorney, Patrick Adams, said Johnson was not interested in being a witness. "From my understanding, the witness wanted no part of the prosecution of Eric Hill," Adams said. "Mr. Hill has maintained his innocence from the start, and he was ready for trial. He is working and moving on with his life." The charge against Hill states that on July 18, he allegedly struck Johnson, whom he had been dating, pulled her into a car by her hair, slammed her head into the dashboard several times and shoved her to the ground. If convicted, Hill could have faced a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. The Tulsa Police Department fired Hill on Aug. 18 after an internal investigation revealed that he admitted during a federal investigation to engaging in criminal activity while on duty, records show. Hill was placed on paid leave June 22 after his name surfaced in a federal grand jury investigation into police corruption. Hill, who joined the Police Department in July 2005, has not been charged in the federal investigation. With prosecutorial immunity, Hill is expected to be a federal witness in a police corruption investigation in which six former and current police officers have been charged and as a result of which 31 people have been freed from prison, had felony cases dismissed or charges reduced or granted a new trial.

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