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Washington cop pleads not guilty to using excessive force

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SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state police officer repeatedly accused of using excessive force has pleaded not guilty to a federal criminal charge that he pepper-sprayed a man who was under arrest and restrained in a hospital gurney.

Our news partner The Seattle Times reports former Tukwila officer Nicholas Hogan, who is now an officer in Snoqualmie, entered the plea Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Hogan was placed on paid leave after a grand jury indicted him in May on one count of violating the civil rights of a man he arrested in May 2011.

Tukwila internal-affairs documents obtained by The Times say Hogan took the man to a hospital for stitches and while there, shoved and tackled the man before pepper-spraying him in the eyes. Hogan says the man had threatened and lunged at him.

Hogan will remain free pending an Aug. 8 trial.