ST. ALBANS, Vt. (AP) — A former officer with the St. Albans police department has been acquitted at trial of a charge of simple assault stemming from a 2019 incident in which he allegedly used a stun gun to incapacitate a vandalism suspect, the Vermont Attorney General’s office says.
The Franklin County jury returned the verdict on Friday in favor of Mark Schwartz, 34, of Cambridge.
Schwartz’s attorney, Robert Kaplan, said Monday the charge was unfounded in law or practice. By deciding to prosecute what Kaplan described as a routine, lawful arrest is certain to have a chilling effect on law enforcement officers, which will lead to decrease in public safety, he said.
“Mr. Schwartz’s use of the taser in this arrest was not only lawful but was demonstrably correct since a violent, fleeing felon was apprehended without struggle or injury,” Kaplan said in an email. “This was a routine police encounter that was entirely within applicable law and department policy.”
Schwartz was charged in 2021 with causing bodily injury to an individual after the officer stepped from his police cruiser on Feb. 28, 2019 and used a stun gun to incapacitate the individual. At the time Schwartz, was an officer with the St. Albans Police Department and was on duty.
Schwartz resigned from his job in 2020.