San Francisco, CA — A former NFL lineman accused of two racially-motivated attacks was acquitted of two counts of battery with hate crime enhancements and one count of felony criminal threats, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
A mistrial was declared on an additional felony assault charge against 36-year-old Christopher Brymer after the jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Niki Solis. Jury members deliberated two days before reaching their verdict Monday afternoon.
Brymer, a homeless man and former University of Southern California and National Football League offensive lineman, was arrested July 20, 2010. Brymer, who is white, was accused of using racial epithets against a pair of black men during a fight at a soup kitchen July 19, as well as threatening to kill them. One of the men claimed Brymer attacked him a second time on a Muni platform the following day.
One of the complaining witnesses, a convicted sex offender, later recanted his story and was not called to testify by prosecutors during the two-week trial. The remaining man, who has a long and violent criminal history that includes falsely accusing others of crimes, changed his story numerous times on the stand, Solis said.
Key in the jury’s decision was the surveillance tape from the Muni platform, Solis said.
“The attack on the Muni platform simply did not happen,” Solis said. “The video clearly shows both men ignoring each other before Mr. Brymer’s accuser calmly gets on the train.”
Brymer faced more than 13 years in state prison if convicted. Numerous former teammates testified and wrote letters in his behalf, stressing that Brymer was not a racist.
Adachi applauded the jury’s decision.
“Mr. Brymer maintained his innocence from the beginning. Through video surveillance, he was able to prove it in court,” Adachi said.