A six-member jury on Friday acquitted former Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio, capping the seven-day gun-grabbing trial that began last week.
The jury found Tenorio not guilty of reckless conduct, and obstructing government functions. Prior to the jury’s verdict, the court last week dropped the official misconduct due to a lack of supporting evidence.
A satisfied Tenorio emerged from the Superior Court smiling. “We'll let God open that door and we will figure it out from there,” he told reporters when asked what he would do next. “To the people of Guam thank your understanding and prayers. To everyone else let's move forward.”
He case stemmed from a July 7, 2018 incident during a BBQ Block Party in Tumon, where Tenorio was reported to have grabbed and pointed a gun at police Sgt. Car Cruz. The incident took place prior to the primary elections. Political observers speculated that the incident took a toll on his gubernatorial campaign.
At the trial, Tenorio said his action was meant to teach the police officer about handling and securing a weapon. He denied allegations he was intoxicated at the time of the incident. “I have not been drunk in a long time,” he said during his testimony.
The seven-day trial included three days of jury selection where prosecution picked jurors based on their ability to remain fair and impartial until all evidence and facts were presented, states a press release from the Attorney General’s Office.
“Our job as prosecutors is to bring a set of facts and evidence to an impartial jury and allow them to decide if someone broke the law,” Chief Prosecutor J. Basil O’Mallan III said, expressing disappointment in the verdict.
In a press statement, the AGO said although the jury found that Tenorio’s handling of the officer’s weapon did not break the law, “this case has raised concerns about whether it should be illegal to interfere with a police officer’s weapon.”
The infamous gun-grabbing incident has prompted the Legislature to pass a law that makes it a felony to disarm a police officer.
Though common sense would dictate that an officer’s gun should be off limits, “sometimes common sense does not align with the law,” said O’Mallan. “This incident allowed the Legislature to take a look at an area of law that needed improvement. I’d like to thank the jury for their civic duty. I also want to express my sincerest appreciation to the hardworking men and women in law enforcement who hold themselves to the highest standard when protecting and serving our community, even when faced with difficult situations.” (With reports from Jolene Toves, Pacific News Center)