BELLAIRE, Texas Leaders in the city of Bellaire spoke out moments after a jury found a police sergeant not guilty in the December 2008 shooting of Robbie Tolan.

Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton was acquitted of all charges.

As the jury s finding clearly demonstrates, Sgt. Cotton acted in conformance and in full accordance with standard police training, said Bellaire City Attorney Bill Helfand.

Helfand gathered with other officials at Bellaire City Hall, to weigh in on a matter that had fanned racial tensions in the city and speculation about racial profiling. Robbie Tolan is black. Sgt. Cotton is white.

Indeed, race was never mentioned as a factor in the trial or in the outcome of the criminal case, added Helfand.

Now the matter becomes a federal civil case. Attorney Gerald Treece, who serves as the legal expert for 11 News, believes the next outcome could be entirely different.

The question of the justification of the shooting is resolved, said Treece. But the question of whether or not racial profiling was involved is to be decided in another place on another day.

But on this day, Bellaire city leaders seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

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