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Off-Duty Corrections Officer "Not Guilty" In Hate Crime Trial

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Acquitted of hate crime charges, Wayne Spratley left the Chenango County courthouse a free man. Spratley, a white man, was accused of hate crimes of attempted murder and assault after the shooting of Jack Alexander, a black man, outside a Norwich bar in July 2015.

Spratley waived his right to a jury trial, so it was Chenango County Judge Frank Revoir who ultimately decided the case. When handing down the not guilty verdict, Revoir said he did not believe prosecutors proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution had called forward several witnesses and offered up an evidence list of 70 items. 

Prosecutors say Spratley, a former corrections officer, was off-duty when he displayed his handgun and badge outside the Broad Street Tavern. His defense lawyer said he did this to gain trust to get a ride home. Throughout the trial, witnesses told the judge that Alexander made a comment about Spratley having brought a gun out with him. Witnesses said this is how the fight began, Spratley hurling racial slurs at Alexander. The fight migrated across the street and onto Lackawanna Ave, where Alexander was shot in the stomach. 

Despite finding him not guilty of all five charges (hate crime attempted murder, hate crime assault, non-hate crime felony charges of attempted murder, assault, and criminal use of a firearm), Revoir still had strong words for Spratley.

By all accounts Mr. Spratley, you are the luckiest man alive in Chenango County right now. Notwithstanding my strong support of our Second Amendment right to bear arms, under no circumstances should you ever have the right to carry a firearm, in this county, in this state or anywhere.

Spratley had no comments as he left the courthouse and his defense lawyer Michael Garzo left before addressing the media.