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An Oakland jury handed a victory Tuesday to three fired Oakland police officers who were accused of beating up suspects, planting evidence and lying in police reports to cover it up. The jurors acquitted the officers of eight charges — including kidnapping, assault, conspiring to make false arrests and lying about overtime — and deadlocked on 27 other counts. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Leopoldo Dorado accepted the eight verdicts and declared a mistrial on the unresolved counts. District Attorney Thomas Orloff said his office has not decided whether to retry the case. Attorneys are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 15 to discuss whether there will be a retrial. “The jury’s decision I accept,” said Orloff. “I am disappointed in it, somewhat frustrated by it, but I accept it.” The trial, which has lasted more than a year, is the longest ever in an Alameda County criminal court. Opening statements began in September 2002 and closings were given in May. The jury has been deliberating for four months. The scandal began in July 2000 when rookie cop Keith Batt quit the police force after working 10 shifts. Batt, who became the prosecution’s star witness, testified that a group of cops who called themselves the “Riders” frequently broke the law as they patrolled Oakland’s streets. The whistle-blower’s accusations led to the firing of Clarence Mabanag, Jude Siapno, Matthew Hornung and Francisco Vazquez. Mabanag, Siapno and Hornung were put on trial. Authorities are still seeking Vazquez who is believed to have fled the country. The officers’ legal team has argued that their clients merely followed orders from police brass to aggressively target drug dealers.

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