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Suspect accused in vicious beating of cop 'wanted to kill a white police officer,' prosecutor says
Image source: WCPO-TV video screenshot

Suspect accused in vicious beating of cop 'wanted to kill a white police officer,' prosecutor says

The suspect accused in a vicious beating of a Cincinnati cop last month "wanted to kill a white police officer," Hamilton County prosecutor Melissa Powers said, according to WCPO-TV.

What are the details?

Brandon Claiborne, 34, was initially charged with aggravated robbery and felonious assault after police said he beat Officer Terry McGuffey with his own baton, tried to "gouge the officer's eyes out," and struck him several times with a Taser on July 23, the station reported.

Claiborne now will face two aggravated robbery charges, two felonious assault charges, and an attempted murder charge, WCPO added, citing a grand jury indictment released Wednesday.

What's more, Powers said in a press release that "the investigation determined Claiborne wanted to kill a white police officer," the station noted.

“This vicious attack was nothing short of attempted murder of a police officer," Powers also said, according to WCPO. "Situations like this are the direct result of a growing anti-police movement that is dehumanizing law enforcement."

Powers also noted, "It is a miracle Terry McGuffey survived, and our thoughts are with him and his family. Enough is enough. We will do everything within the law to put this guy behind bars for as long as we can," the station said.

Cincinnati Police chief Teresa Theetge told WCPO she wants Claiborne punished: "This was an attempted murder of a police officer, no doubt in my mind."

The station said Claiborne could be seen smiling and appeared to be talking to himself during his arraignment last week. The prosecution said he suffers from schizophrenia, WCPO reported.

The judge said Claiborne is a threat to "anyone he comes in contact with in the community" and set his bond at $500,000 per charge, the station reported.

More from WCPO:

Mental health considerations could play a major role in how the case moves forward. Court records show Claiborne was previously detained twice due to mental illness. Each time, he was released days later.

Criminal defense attorney Marty Pinales said the first question could be whether Claiborne is competent to stand trial.

"If somebody is incompetent to stand trial, then they are held until one of two things: they are competent or it's unlikely they're ever going to be restored to competency," Pinales said.

If Claiborne is found competent and the case moves forward, Pinales said his defense could try to prove he's not guilty by reason of insanity.

"If he is not guilty by reason of insanity, the next step is, is he capable of going back on the street? Or is he still a danger?" Pinales noted to the station. "He can be kept within an institution 'til he is no longer a danger, and that could be an extremely long time."

If convicted on the charges presently against him, Claiborne could face nearly 30 years in prison, prosecutors told WCPO.

"It is a very difficult case to prove," Pinales added to the station. "The prosecution is always charged with proving each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt."

How is the officer doing?

Theetge told WCPO that McGuffey is doing better and is out of the hospital: "Spoke with him, he's doing well, as well as can be expected."

Cincinnati FOP president Dan Hils added to the station that McGuffey is showing "big-time improvement."

"When I talked to him last, his eyesight is improving. His hip pain is still pretty rough, but he's coming along," Hils added to WCPO.

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