Before his trial even began Wednesday, charges of fourth-degree assault were dismissed against former Berea Police Lt. Billy Beavers — leaving only a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct for a Madison County jury to deliberate.

Beavers was set to be tried on both charges at the conclusion of a pre-trial motion hour Tuesday. After serving 12 years on Berea’s force, Beavers was indicted in September on allegations that he kicked 40-year-old James Hunt of Lexington at the conclusion of a July 4 pursuit where Hunt was the passenger. He then failed to file a use of force report following the incident, the indictment alleges.

But special prosecutors Jennifer True and Larry Roberts of the Fayette County Attorney’s Office filed the motion to dismiss prior to seating the jury, said Special Judge Michael Harrod. Roberts declined to comment about the reason for the dismissal.

“Well, I’m not going to talk about that,” Roberts said. “Just because, that’s not an issue — I’m going to try the case in this courtroom. I can’t answer anything outside of what was said in the courtroom.”

The alleged victim was not present in the courtroom Wednesday and was not called as a prosecution witness.

Three witnesses were called for the prosecution: Berea Police Officer Jake Reed, who was at the scene the night of the incident; Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock, who brought the incident to Berea Police Chief Dwayne Brumley’s attention via a Richmond officer’s cruiser dashboard camera; and Brumley, who eventually fired Beavers in August as a result of the incident.

At the beginning of Reed’s testimony, True showed the jury of two women and five men a copy of the video, which portrays RPD Officers Josh Petry and Stephen Parker pursuing a Buick Skylar first through the outskirts of Richmond and then into Berea, where Berea police — including then Lieutenant Beavers — assisted in the chase and apprehension of the vehicle and its occupants.

While cross-examining Reed, Crosbie asked him if it was Reed’s duty as an officer on scene to report something he considered improper, to which Reed replied that it was.

“Did you report anything?” Crosbie asked.

“No sir, I did not,” Reed replied.

It was approximately two weeks after the incident that RPD’s evidence technician reported to Brock that he noticed something he thought Brock should be aware of in the video. Brock testified that after viewing the video himself, he then notified Brumley to make him aware of it.

Brumley was the final witness to take the stand and he testified he had no knowledge of the kicking prior to Brock contacting him about the video because a use-of-force report had not been filed. Roberts asked him to identify whose responsibility it was to file the report.

“It was his (Beavers’) responsibility,” Brumley testified.

Beavers did file an incident report that stated Hunt had to be “forcibly cuffed,” but Brumley said because force was used, a use-of-force report should have accompanied it. Crosbie asked Brumley if he had read the incident report prior to hearing from Brock, and Brumley said he had not.

Brumley and Crosbie reviewed several points in the BPD policies and procedures manual referring to definitions of force and wording which describes who is responsible for filing the use-of-force report following an incident.

“The officer files the initial report with the facts and details,” Brumley testified.

“Where does it say that the officer involved in the use-of-force must fill out the report?” Crosbie asked.

“I’m not sure that it does,” Brumley said.

In rebuttal, Roberts asked Brumley if there were other reasons Beavers was fired, to which he agreed, but those reasons never were elaborated for the jury only.

The trial will resume today at 9 a.m. with the beginning of Beavers’ defense. The trial is expected to be completed today.

Kelly Foreman can be reached at kforeman@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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