June 24, 2018 / 8:15 AM / 3 months ago

Mistrial declared in Houston chokehold case

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A mistrial was declared after jurors in Houston failed to reach a verdict late Saturday in the murder trial of the husband of a sheriff’s deputy accused of choking a Hispanic man in a case that spurred “Brown Lives Matter” protests, local media reported.

After more than 26 hours of deliberation, Houston jurors could not agree if Terry Thompson, 42, was guilty over the death of John Hernandez 24, in a chokehold in May, 2017. Thompson is the husband of former Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Chauna Thompson, 46.

Chauna Thompson, who was fired last year from the sheriff’s office, is scheduled to go on trial in October.

District Judge Kelli Johnson declared a mistrial, media reported.

It is up to the local district attorney to decide whether to put Terry Thompson on trial again or let the case drop.

The death of Hernandez garnered national attention in 2017 after cell phone video of the fight was widely circulated on social media and showed Terry Thompson, a railroad worker, and Chauna Thompson, holding Hernandez down in a chokehold as he moaned.

The video spurred protests that swept through downtown Houston with people carrying signs reading “Brown Lives Matter” and “Justice for John Hernandez.” Both Thompsons are white and Hernandez is Hispanic.

Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Keith Weir

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