Jury Deliberating Watts Case, 3/18

Peter Watts’ case was submitted to the jury in mid-morning on March 18 following closing statements by defense and prosecution attorneys, reports the Port Huron Times Herald.

Watts himself testified on March 17 in the afternoon, as did the passenger in his car on the date of the border-crossing incident.

Watts said he was returning home to Toronto after helping a friend move. He had just paid his toll on the American side of the international bridge when he noticed a “flicker of motion” outside his car window. The motion, as other witnesses had testified, was a border officer attempting to wave his vehicle to a stop for a random inspection. Watts said the wave was “ambiguous.”

Watts said he stopped after his passenger, Marcus Kumala, told him to, and when he rolled down the window, the officer said: “‘When I go like this (Watts put up his hand), I’m not waving hello.'”

Watts said he responded “I guess we’re not in Canada, because in Canada that sometimes means hello.”

Times Herald reporter Lis Shepard’s article adds: Watts said he became irritated by the officers’ search of the car and bags in the back seat and got out of the vehicle because he wanted to know what was going on. Watts heard an officer twice order him to get back into the vehicle, but he didn’t immediately comply. An officer grabbed his arm and he pulled away in a “flinch response.” Watts said he was starting to get back in the vehicle when Officer Andrew Beaudry grabbed him and tore his shirt.

Watts said he was trying to comply with orders as things seemed to escalate.

“I was trying to get the hell back in the car,” he said. “It turns out I had company in the car.”

Watts said he remembers feeling leather in his hands, but doesn’t remember grabbing the officer and might have been trying to fend him off.

“My own recollection of this is kind of frenzied because I was under siege,” he said.

Update: 3/18/2010: Deliberations ended at 5:20 p.m. without a verdict. The jury is expected to resume work on March 19 at 9:00 a.m. According to the Have Satellite Truck, Will Travel blog, during the afternoon the jury requested to see the security camera video tape again, which was permitted. But the jury was not allowed to take the tape into the jury room to review and still-frame it, which the judge said would be conducting an investigation and the jury must make its decision based on evidence presented at trial. // Peter Watts’ first post on his blog since the trial began is brief and ends, “Nails are being bitten, ulcers are being eroded, and I am out of clean underwear.”

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