Update: Jury acquits former Columbus police officer of witness tampering

Jurors took less than two hours Thursday to acquit a former Columbus police officer of tampering with witnesses in his brother’s 2009 double homicide case.

Mitchell Brock, 23, cried as he heard the verdicts of not guilty on charges of influencing a witness and attempted influencing a witness. The verdicts came at the conclusion of a four-day trial and a closing argument from defense attorney Stacey Jackson in which he invoked the 2003 shooting death of Kenneth Walker by former sheriff’s deputy David Glisson.

“I just want to say it was in God’s hands the whole time,” Brock said after his acquittal. “I always said from day one I was innocent. God knew the truth of what was going on.”

Brock, who was terminated from Columbus police pending trial, said he intends to go before the city’s Personnel Review Board and that he wants to return to law enforcement.

Prosecutors alleged Brock drove by a witness in his brother’s double homicide case and made shooting motions with his hand in November 2009. Brock is also accused of calling a restaurant the month before in an attempt to contact a roommate of one of the deceased.

Mitchell Brock’s brother, 25-year-old James Brock, was convicted in March and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole plus five years. He was found guilty of the Oct. 13, 2009, murders of the mother of his children, Tyesha McNair, and Terence Clark, both 21.

Delivering his closing arguments, Jackson said a detective told Brock that if an officer violates police policy, it often leads to a criminal act. Jackson then said that when Walker, an Omega Psi Phi fraternity brother of Jackson’s, was shot by Glisson, the deputy wasn’t indicted.

“And they’re going to indict him for pointing his finger?” Jackson said. “They’re going to wait a year later and charge this man? ... and that’s what I mean about picking and choosing.”

Ken Hodges was the special prosecutor who presented the Walker case in November 2004 to a Muscogee County grand jury, which did not indict Glisson for his role in Walker’s death. Glisson shot Walker during a traffic stop related to a drug investigation. He was unarmed at the time of the shooting and no drugs were found in the vehicle.

Standing before the jury moments later, Senior Assistant District Attorney LaRae Moore said Jackson forced her to address his Walker argument.

“He brought that up first of all to divert your attention from the facts,” she said. “He brought that up to evoke some type of emotion regarding the prosecution of this case. That’s the only reason he brought that up.

“A black man was killed by a white sheriff’s deputy. And now we have a black police officer being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office ... and that’s not fair,” Moore said.

“(Jackson) didn’t tell you that in 2003 he was an assistant district attorney,” Moore continued. “He didn’t tell you that he resigned in protest of that case. That, ladies and gentlemen, is not fair.”

Jackson, who became a defense attorney some five years after Walker’s death, said he left the District Attorney’s Office for personal and professional reasons. Walker’s case was not one of them.