By Chris Oberholtz and Dave Jordan
CLAY COUNTY, Mo. — A Missouri police officer is trying to get back to work after finally being cleared of beating up an elderly man.
Oakview police officer Kimberly Whyley says it has been a long and difficult three years since she was accused of assaulting an elderly driver.
But now she is breathing a sigh of relief after a jury backed up her assertion that she did nothing wrong.
"I was overcome with emotion. I was overcome with emotion that a traumatic event was finally coming to end for my family and I," Whyley said.
That was how officer Whyley felt after the 30-minute jury deliberation Tuesday night which led to her acquittal. The verdict was handed down three years after she was pulled off the streets.
"I had been suspended without pay at the urging of our city attorney," Whyley said.
This all stems from a traffic stop back in March of 2009 in Oakview.
Whyley pulled over 88-year-old Phil Forte for not having his headlights on. A few minutes later, Forte's car slams into Whyley's police cruiser.
She then ordered him out of the car and a struggle ensues. A passerby helps her subdue Forte who was then taken into custody. Prosecutors later charged Whyley with assault for dragging Forte.
Whyley's attorney says the tape of the incident, recorded from her dash camera, may have been have been altered after it was sent to the Missouri Highway Patrol as evidence.
He points to the speed of the video and the appearance of a daytime soap opera scene which he claims was not there initially.
"And we had testimony from several officers including the Chief of Police who reviewed that tape many times and it was fine. The tape showed the complete stop from beginning to end," Whyley's attorney Bert Godding said.
Clay County Prosecutor Dan White disputes the tape tampering accusation.
"It remained the same from the first day it went to the highway patrol to today," prosecutor Dan White said.
But the defense says they spoke to jurors who questioned the accuracy of that tape and rendered a not guilty verdict. White says he has no regrets over prosecuting this case.
"We presented it to a jury. We felt like it was enough a jury disagreed so that's the way the system works," White said.
And Whyley has no regrets on how she handled this traffic stop.
"I would do nothing differently. I'm still very passionate about helping others and helping the public," Whyley said.
Whyley is now working on being reinstated to the force.
She is also hoping to get the salary for her three years she was suspended.
Whyley's attorneys have already begun that process to get her salary reimbursed, during her suspension.
Reprinted with permission from KCTV