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HomeNewsArchivesJURY FINDS CHINNERY INNOCENT OF ALL 3 CHARGES

JURY FINDS CHINNERY INNOCENT OF ALL 3 CHARGES

Oct. 3, 2001 – A U.S. District Court jury acquitted former V.I. drug czar Wayne Chinnery on Wednesday of all three charges that had been brought against him in connection with a May 2000 incident in Hospital Ground that sent a 19-year-old woman to the hospital.
Chinnery had been charged with a civil rights violation, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime and third-degree assault with a deadly weapon.
Charese Huggins, a 21-year-old Hospital Ground resident, had told investigators that Chinnery hit her on the side of the head with his Narcotics Strike Force-issued Glock 9mm handgun during a drug search. The head wound she suffered required stitches at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital, and while there she made a report to investigators, she testified.
But, taking the witness stand in his own defense Tuesday, Chinnery told the jury and District Court Judge Thomas K. Moore that what he had been holding was not a gun but a radio. He said he had struck Huggins only after she refused a lawful order to be searched for drugs, cursed at him and started a physical confrontation.
U.S. Justice Department Special Prosecutor Barry Williams had argued that Chinnery used excessive force with Huggins.
Chinnery's attorney, Stephen Brusch, told the jurors that Chinnery was acting within the law during the incident. Brusch noted that the area near the basketball court at the Winston Raymo Center in Hospital Ground is a known area of drug use, and that officers routinely stop people for searches there.
At the time of the incident, Chinnery, a former candidate for senator and governor, was serving both as head of the Narcotics Strike Force and as drug-policy adviser to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. The governor relieved him of both positions in August of 2000 shortly after he was charged with assaulting the mother of one of his children.
Territorial Court Judge Rhys Hodge acquitted him of the aggravated assault charge in that case after the alleged victim testified that Chinnery had not hit her and said that the statement she made to police about the incident at the time had been blown out of proportion.

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Oct. 3, 2001 - A U.S. District Court jury acquitted former V.I. drug czar Wayne Chinnery on Wednesday of all three charges that had been brought against him in connection with a May 2000 incident in Hospital Ground that sent a 19-year-old woman to the hospital.
Chinnery had been charged with a civil rights violation, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime and third-degree assault with a deadly weapon.
Charese Huggins, a 21-year-old Hospital Ground resident, had told investigators that Chinnery hit her on the side of the head with his Narcotics Strike Force-issued Glock 9mm handgun during a drug search. The head wound she suffered required stitches at the Roy L. Schneider Hospital, and while there she made a report to investigators, she testified.
But, taking the witness stand in his own defense Tuesday, Chinnery told the jury and District Court Judge Thomas K. Moore that what he had been holding was not a gun but a radio. He said he had struck Huggins only after she refused a lawful order to be searched for drugs, cursed at him and started a physical confrontation.
U.S. Justice Department Special Prosecutor Barry Williams had argued that Chinnery used excessive force with Huggins.
Chinnery's attorney, Stephen Brusch, told the jurors that Chinnery was acting within the law during the incident. Brusch noted that the area near the basketball court at the Winston Raymo Center in Hospital Ground is a known area of drug use, and that officers routinely stop people for searches there.
At the time of the incident, Chinnery, a former candidate for senator and governor, was serving both as head of the Narcotics Strike Force and as drug-policy adviser to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. The governor relieved him of both positions in August of 2000 shortly after he was charged with assaulting the mother of one of his children.
Territorial Court Judge Rhys Hodge acquitted him of the aggravated assault charge in that case after the alleged victim testified that Chinnery had not hit her and said that the statement she made to police about the incident at the time had been blown out of proportion.