Mistrial declared by judge in the case of a former state trooper who was accused of using excessive force
Cedar Rapids, Iowa – On Friday, a former Iowa state trooper who was on trial for allegedly using excessive force on a motorcyclist during a traffic stop was found not guilty by a federal court and the case was ruled a mistrial by the judge.
There was no unanimous decision on the accusations against Robert James Smith by the jurors, and the judge declared a mistrial.
After a traffic stop in 2017 of a motorcyclist who had been speeding on Interstate 80 near the small city of West Liberty in eastern Iowa, Smith was charged with deprivation of rights under color of law—use of unreasonable force that causes bodily injury.
The footage from Smith’s dashboard camera shows him pulling over a motorcyclist named Bryce Yakish and then storming out of his vehicle while brandishing a gun. Yakish was knocked to the ground by Smith, and as he was handcuffing him, Smith briefly put his knee on Yakish’s neck.
There is no indication in the court documents as to whether or not federal prosecutors will retry Smith.