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Ex-Minot State player denies assaulting police

Jesse Ili
Jesse Ili

MINOT, N.D. (AP) -- A former Minot State University football player accused of attacking two police officers during a traffic stop told a jury that he's innocent.

Jesse Ili took the stand in his own defense Thursday in district court.

Ili is accused of beating two officers who responded to a report of suspected drug use in a parked vehicle off campus in Minot last year.

Prosecutors say Ili ran away and then bashed the head of one officer against a pole several times. He's also accused of punching another officer in the head.

Ili told jurors he pushed one of the officers but only after one of them pulled his hair. Ili also testified that he had not been smoking marijuana in the vehicle.

Closing arguments are scheduled Friday.

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