PORTLAND (AP) – One of two Portland police detectives acquitted of assault two months ago in an alleged brutality case has been returned to the force with a demotion.

Brian Regan, who had been suspended without pay for six months, was back on the job as a patrolman, Chief Michael Chitwood announced Monday.

Chitwood said the demotion followed an internal police investigation indicating Regan, 34, used excessive force against Michael Esposito, who was arrested after a high-speed chase last September in the city’s West End.

Regan acknowledged that he hit Esposito while the drug suspect was in handcuffs and on the ground but maintained that he acted in self-defense when the suspect tried to head-butt him.

Regan was acquitted of all charges at his June trial, but Chitwood said internal police proceedings held the officer to a higher standard than a court of law.

Regan’s co-defendant, Patrick DeCourcey, also was acquitted. His internal investigation is pending.

Both officers have been named in a civil lawsuit filed by Esposito in U.S. District Court.

AP-ES-08-04-03 1338EDT

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