A district court judge says a former Kinston police officer is not guilty of disorderly conduct after a near riot at a Walmart on Black Friday.
The verdict for Gordon Jackson came after a two-day trial in Lenoir County.
It happened at the Kinston Walmart the day after Thanksgiving as shoppers were clamoring for cell phone deals. Kinston police say Jackson got out of hand when they had to use pepper spray to break up a crowd at the store.
Jackson, who was a police officer from 1976 to 1980, said he only questioned police about their use of pepper spray with the elderly and children around.
The judge said it came down to a free speech issue and based on the evidence, Jackson was not being disorderly.
Afterward, Jackson said he was happy with the judge's decision.
A former police officer, arrested on black Friday at a Walmart for disorderly conduct, is finally getting his day in court.
Kinston police say Gordon Jackson got out of hand when they had to use pepper spray to break up a crowd at the store on the day after Thanksgiving.
The trial started Thursday morning and Jackson is expected to testify.
So far, several Walmart assistant managers have testified. One told the judge that she saw people scrambling for phones and there was a lot of profanity. Veronica Crumpler said as she was heading to the door, she saw Jackson on the ground and being arrested.
George Washington, a store shopper that morning, also testified. "I saw people holding their eyes and was still trying to find the thing on sale, coughing and gagging." He said police did their job, but Jackson was talking back.
We will let you know what happens today.