Two other officers were found not guilty of covering up the alleged assault on body-piercer Michael Mineo, who said Officer Richard Kern assaulted him with a baton after catching him smoking marijuana inside a Brooklyn subway station.
The jury deliberated all day Friday and for about 30 minutes this morning before delivering its not guilty verdicts for Kern, 26, and fellow officers Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales, both 28, the New York Post reported.
Kern could have faced up to 25 years in prison if he had been convicted. After the verdict, he said he felt "great" and was happy the justice system had prevailed, The Washington Post reported.
Mineo, who is suing the city for $440 million, said he was resigned to the decision.
"I kind of had a feeling it was going to turn out this way," he said. "If you want to commit a murder, join the NYPD."
On Oct. 15, 2008, Kern chased Mineo into the Prospect Park subway station after catching him smoking marijuana. At first Mineo was handcuffed, but later was released with nothing more than a summons, even though there were several outstanding warrants for his arrest. He said police let him go after Kern sodomized him.
Another police officer, Kevin Maloney, testified at the trial that he saw Kern violate Mineo with the baton. According to the Daily News, Maloney said he heard Mineo scream out, "What are you doing?"
The trial, which began at the end of January, focused heavily on DNA evidence. A DNA specialist testified that a blood sample she took from the end of Kern's baton could have been Mineo's. But under cross-examination, she said it could also have been from someone else.
A doctor at the Brooklyn Hospital Center testified that an abscess located near Mineo's rectum could have been caused by the police baton. Defense lawyers argued that the abscess was self-inflicted or the result of some other injury.
The trial failed to elicit the public outrage that past police brutality trials have produced in New York City. In 2001, Haitian immigrant Abner Louima won an $8 million settlement from the city. He was sodomized with a broomstick by an NYPD officer inside a Brooklyn police station in 1997.
Protests were held in the city after three police officers were acquitted in the shooting death of Sean Bell. Bell, an unarmed black man, was killed and two of his friends were seriously wounded when police fired 50 rounds at them in the parking lot of a Queens club early on Nov. 5, 2006. Bell was to have been married later that day.
In 1999, four officers fired 41 rounds at Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant who was reaching for his wallet to show his identification. All four officers were acquitted of criminal charges in the 23-year-old's death.