• South Daytona officer accused of punching suspect found not guilty

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    SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. - A South Daytona police officer accused in a violent confrontation last year was found not guilty by a judge Tuesday.

    The chief of the South Daytona Police Department said Zach Pickett would likely keep his job.

    Last year, investigators said Pickett lost his job with the department for the incident, which was caught on a camera inside a police car.

    Raw: Dashcam shows suspect being punched (Warning: Graphic language)

    Parker Beasley was under arrest in the backseat, handcuffed, when Pickett’s arm came flying through the window.

    Pickett accused Beasley of spitting on him and said he did not punch Beasley, but instead pushed him.

    Pickett has since acknowledged that if Beasley did spit on him, it was an accident, and said his reaction was instinctive.

    “Was your act of pushing Mr. Beasley away, was that a conscious, thought-through act?” asked the defense attorney.

    “No, sir. I mean, everything (happened) in a matter of split seconds. I didn’t have time to form a decision of what I was going to do,” said Pickett.

    Police said Beasley was intoxicated and was under arrest for possession of marijuana.

    He was also a suspect in another crime.

    Beasley, who is currently in jail for domestic battery, testified. He said his memory is fuzzy, but swears he was punched and denied acting aggressive toward Pickett.

    “I didn’t lunge at him, and he certainly didn’t just push me,” Beasley said to the defense attorney.

    Beasley helped South Daytona police solve a high-profile murder case a few years ago.

    If convicted in the domestic battery case, Beasley could face up to a year in prison. 

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