Huntsville officer pleads not guilty in 2011 excessive force case

Huntsville officer pleads not guilty in 2011 excessive force case

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A Huntsville Police Officer accused of

pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday.

"I have to go to my office to look at that and see what they have," said Russell's attorney, Emory Anthony, outside the Birmingham Federal Courthouse on Thursday.

Brett Russell responded to a domestic violence call two nights before Christmas 2011. Officers on the scene arrested Gary Wayne Hopkins for beating his wife in front of his children.

While Hopkins was in police custody, he began to kick officers and broke a window in the police car. While in handcuffs, dashcam video from the police car shows Russell punching and kicking Hopkins. Hopkins was injured so badly that the jail would not take him until he had been treated at Huntsville Hospital. 

The Huntsville Police Department fired Russell in May of 2012, but he was reinstated in August of 2012 after a unanimous vote from the Huntsville City Council. Russell is being processed on a $5,000 bond on the terms that he maintains a job. 

Russell was released on a $5,000 bond on the terms that he maintains a job. The Huntsville Police Department had previously placed him on paid leave.

Anthony asked the judge to clarify his client's bond terms because of his employment status during Thursday's hearing.

"I wanted to make sure they were treating paid leave as employment," said Anthony. "If you get to the technicality that he's not going to work every day, then it might be a problem for his probation."

According to Anthony, a trial date has been set for July 6.

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