The jury in the federal court case and Judge Joseph Goodwin saw the same video: video which the judge says "indisputably" shows deputy Jim Asbury using excessive force in subduing prisoner Brian Sawyer after a 2009 arrest.
It is the same video Judge Goodwin said in his opinion released over the weekend, that proves the jury should not have found for Asbury on liability claims made by Sawyer.
Following testimony in Asbury's April trial , Judge Goodwin agreed to review a motion made by Sawyer's attorney for judgement on Sawyer's behalf. the judge says he did so with what he called "grave concerns" about witness testimony.
Local attorney Bill Merriman has represented former Parkersburg police sergeant Josh Vensel, who awaits sentencing in August in a similar case. Still, Merriman can't remember a decision like that of Judge Goodwin in the Asbury case.
"In this particular case, they found there was no violation: they were not liable by the jury, and there, they don't have to pay the plaintiff any money," Merriman said Monday. "It will be interesting to see the jury come back now and decide how much money the plaintiff is entitled to, and what that number is going to be."
Having ordered a judgement for Sawyer, Judge Goodwin has also ordered a new trial to determine damages Asbury must provide.
Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy says the sheriff's office was removed from the case, although the county itself could be liable. Sandy says the attorney representing the county in the case could determine later this week whether to appeal the judge's ruling.