VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A man accused of hitting a Virginia Beach police officer with his car during a chaotic night at the Oceanfront in March 2021 has been found not guilty.
Jurors spent almost a day-and-a-half deliberating in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
On Tuesday, Malik Kearney, 26, was found not guilty on all 16 charges, including DUI, hit and run, eluding police, carrying a firearm while under the influence, DUI maiming, reckless handling of a firearm, and 10 counts of discharging a firearm in public.
The incident was caught on multiple cameras. In police body camera videos aired previously in court, the officer could be seen getting hit near his right hip, then falling to the ground and struggling to get up.
Prosecutors also accused Kearney of firing multiple rounds in the parking lot off Pacific Avenue and 19th Street before allegedly trying to speed out of the parking lot.
The trial of Kearney began last Tuesday and went on longer than first thought. During jury selection, the judge told jurors they could expect to be in court until Tuesday at the latest.
On Tuesday in court before delivering the verdict, jurors asked the judge three questions. One question asked to see a map of the scene first presented by prosecutors. The jury was made up of eight women and four men.
The commonwealth had at least 17 witnesses, many of whom were officers present the night of the incident.
During opening arguments, Kearney’s defense attorney Curtis Rogers questioned the validity of the DUI test police administered to Kearney the night of the incident.
If convicted, Kearney would have faced more than 20 years behind bars.
He was expected to be released from Virginia Beach Correctional Center Tuesday night, but the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office said around 9 p.m. Tuesday that he would not be released that night.
Officials told 10 On Your Side Wednesday morning that he was expected to be released by noon.