Policeman fined for beating ‘drug dealer’ teacher

A police officer who mistook an African-American teacher for a drug dealer has been fined by a court nearly two years after the incident which made international headlines.Mike Brennan from Jacksonville, Florida, who works at Vienna International School (VIS), went on sick leave for several weeks after the incident in February 2009 in which he sustained injuries to his back, neck, head and hands.The accused policeman, who pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to a fine of 2,800 Euros for serious bodily harm in a court in Vienna today (Tues). He faced up to three years in jail. The officer asked judge Patrick Aulebauer for some days to think about whether he will appeal the verdict, meaning that the sentence is not yet legally binding.The Viennese police department previously said the accused policeman mistook Brennan for a dealer he had observed because of his “almost identical” appearance. Brennan, a former American football player, claimed in court that the plain clothes officer did not identify himself before knocking him down on the platform at Spittelau underground station. The US American also said that the defendant punched him – an accusation the officer vehemently dismissed.The sentenced policeman today hit out at newspapers over how they covered the case. He said: “It’s sad how it all went down. My colleague and me were found guilty (in the reports) from day one. It fits in the picture – a black man and a policeman. The past two years were anything but easy for me.”Vienna police have been criticised for not suspending the main suspect and his colleague – who was not charged – over the incident which sparked a heated debate over racism, prospering drug trade and intensified security measures in Vienna.