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Latrice Lacey's third trial on assault charges began Tuesday
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Latrice Lacey's third trial on assault charges began Tuesday

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Latrice Lacey's third trial on charges of assault started Tuesday morning with opening statements.

Lacey, director of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission, was accused of attacking her former boyfriend with a sledgehammer in April 2018. She was initially charged with three counts of assault and one count of first-degree harassment.

Her first trial ended in a mistrial. During her second trial in September 2019, a jury convicted Lacey, 35, of second-degree harassment, a serious misdemeanor. The second jury, however, could not reach consensus on the counts of assault, and a mistrial was declared. She is being tried on these charges now.

Lacey was sentenced in January 2020 to one year in jail, suspended with probation, for the harassment charge, as well as a fine of $315 and court costs. Her appeal will be heard by the Iowa Supreme Court on Oct. 21.

State's Attorney Mike Walton started Tuesday's trial with opening statements alleging Lacey had assaulted her ex-boyfriend after finding her current boyfriend's car damaged. She believed her ex-boyfriend had vandalized the car and went to his place of employment to confront him. Walton said Lacey hit the man with a 2-pound sledgehammer.

Walton said the man had not handled their breakup well and had said some awful things, but implied that the man's actions don't excuse Lacey.

"The law does not allow for retaliation. The law does not allow for revenge. And that is why we're here," Walton said.

Lacey's defense attorney, Maria Victoria Cole, argued in her opening statements that the charges against Lacey fail to consider the long relationship with her ex-boyfriend that led to the alleged assault. Cole said the man had assaulted and harassed Lacey in the past and had not been charged. She also said Lacey was acting in self-defense when she allegedly assaulted the man, and that he was the primary aggressor. 

Cole stated Lacey had planned to go to the police station to report the damaged car, but when she passed her ex-boyfriend's workplace, she thought she might be able to talk to him. Cole said the man pushed Lacey first, and she acted in defense of herself and her friend who had been giving her a ride.

The trial is ongoing in Scott County Court.

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