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Police Chief Cleared In Civil Rights Trial

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A federal jury cleared Bella Villa Police Chief Edward Locke Jr., in a civil rights trial in which a woman claimed he touched her improperly during a traffic stop.

Locke, 28, who never faced criminal charges in this incident, faces several other federal civil rights lawsuits, including claims from three other women who accuse him of sexual misconduct.

In this case, Diane Cook claimed Locke rubbed her buttocks and thighs and slid his hands under her shirt after she refused to take a breathalyzer test in August 2005.

Cook testified that Locke handcuffed her and slammed her head into his police car immediately before the inappropriate touching.

Locke testified that he never searched her because Cook's husband got out of the car and attacked him.

Cook's husband, Michael, testified that he got out of the car and witnessed the touching. He said that Locke Tasered him when he objected.

Diane Cook said Locke then took her to his patrol car and touched her again.

Another lawsuit against Locke goes to trial next week.

Bella Villa is 8 miles south of St. Louis.

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