Former police officer found not guilty of simple assault

Published 12:49 am Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly reported the day the alleged assault occurred. The incident happened on New Year’s Eve. Hanna Bradford was charged on Jan. 4. The story below is correct.

NATCHEZ — A former Vidalia police officer accused of assaulting a woman was found not guilty last week in Natchez Municipal Court.

Natchez Municipal Court Judge Lisa Jordan Dale said former officer Hanna Bradford was found not guilty of assaulting another woman inside the Under-the-Hill Saloon on New Year’s Eve.

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The Natchez Police Department charged Bradford with simple assault following the incident.

Dale said in court that the victim was unable to show injury, an element required of simple assault, or provide a statement the defendant made that put the victim in imminent fear of bodily harm, which is another form of simple assault, Dale said.

Video evidence shown in court was inconclusive in showing that Bradford physically touched the victim, Dale said.

“It was questionable and inconclusive as to if (Bradford) grabbed the victim’s arm,” Dale said. “You can see the victim yank her arm away, but you could not see (Bradford’s hand) to see whether she had grabbed the victim.”

Dale said in court that Bradford’s behavior that night was inappropriate.

“The defendant stood behind the victim pointing out the victim to her friends and then she walks around … and approaches her too closely for comfort,” Dale said. “It wasn’t an argument, per se, it was an exchange.

“It was an intimidating, uncomfortable situation for the victim and rightfully so. Whether it was criminal or not was not supported as a charge of simple assault.”

Dale said she issued a no-contact order stating Bradford is to have no contact with the alleged victim.

While Bradford was a Vidalia police officer at the time of the arrest, VPD Chief Joey Merrill said she resigned her position several weeks ago.