A FEDERAL JURY in Philadelphia returned a not-guilty verdict yesterday in the trial of a state trooper accused of assaulting a suspect by stomping on his head as the man lay facedown and handcuffed on his kitchen floor.

Kelly Cruz, 44, of Oxford, Chester County, a longtime narcotics investigator, was charged with violating the civil rights of Zachary Bare, 22, during a 2009 arrest in the county.

The jury deliberated for several hours after closing arguments yesterday before deciding Cruz's use of force in the case was not excessive and acquitting him of the charges.

Bare's nose was broken and some teeth were knocked out, according to court documents.

Cruz testified Friday that the suspect was cursing and threatening him, rolling back and forth with his shoulders and tried to rise, the Daily Local News of West Chester reported. Cruz said he feared for his safety, so he pushed down on the suspect's shoulder with his foot to get the man under control.

Under cross-examination, Cruz said the encounter took place in an instant, and he didn't have the opportunity to check for other options and didn't know the man was handcuffed.