Skip to comments.Man who held knife at side guilty of threatening liquor cops (plainclothes "cops" jackbootery)
Posted on 11/16/2009 10:22:18 AM PST by ellery
PORTSMOUTH A Kensington man was found guilty of criminal threatening for holding an open pocket knife at his side while asking two people who were walking behind him at midnight, "Why are you following me?"
The pair walking behind Dustin Almon, 28, of 27 Wild Rose Lane, were state Liquor Enforcement cops, both in plain clothes without any indicators that they were members of law enforcement, according to testimony during a Thursday Portsmouth District Court trial. Both were also carrying concealed handguns and Tasers, they testified.
One of them, Officer Anthony Cattabriga, said he was walking behind Almon on Chapel Street on Nov. 8, 2008, when Almon turned around three times to look at him and a new officer he was training. It was dark and Almon was twenty feet away when he displayed a knife with a two-inch blade the third time he turned around, said Cattabriga.
"He pointed it down by his side," the liquor officer testified, while demonstrating with Almon's seized pocket knife.
When he responded by yelling "police," Almon folded the knife, clipped it to his belt and complied with all subsequent police orders, Cattabriga testified.
Almon was initially arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, but the charge was later upgraded to criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.
"I feared for my safety," Cattabriga said from a District Court witness stand.
Cattabriga's trainee, whose name was not entered into the trial record, corroborated her partner's testimony and said the entire event lasted two to three minutes.
Almon's attorney, Patrick Devine, described his client's actions as self defense.
"A crime was not committed," he told the court. "He was protecting himself against unknown people following him."
Judge Sawako Gardner examined the knife before finding Almon guilty of the class A misdemeanor.
"It doesn't matter who was behind you," the judge said, while explaining that Almon was guilty of the charge for placing another person in fear of bodily injury.
Noting no previous criminal record, the judge sentenced Almon to 30 days in the Rockingham County House of Corrections, with all of it suspended pending a year of good behavior. He was also fined $500 with half suspended pending the same good behavior.
Devine notified the court that he intends to appeal the decision to a higher court.
It seems to me that Almon was the first to have cause for being “in fear of bodily injury”.
Unjust. I hope the appeals court realizes that.
So do I for a couple of reasons.
First, he did nothing threatening, and was under armed.
Second, I’d have the .40 out under the same circumstances.
Well that’s American; “Liquor store cops” (whatever those are) creeping around in the dark behind law abiding citizens.
It also worries me that I’m apparently supposed to drop my weapon if someone yells, “Police!”
Anyone can yell “Police.”
And LEO’s actually wonder why so many peop0le hate them, friggin facists.
So much for “Live Free or Die.” Portsmouth NH.
What a travesty. I wouldn’t trust just anyone because they claimed to be police. What if they weren’t?!
You’re right, but in this case it doesn’t count, because the people causing his fear were plainclothes police (our lords and masters).
Where's a good vigilante when you need one?
I can’t believe this was in the US. And what the hell is a Liquor Enforcement police and why do they follow people?
Meanwhile, if I wanted to assault someone, apparently I should simply yell "police" if my victim makes any move to defend him/herself. These plainclothes "cops" are putting fellow citizens in a no-win situation.
Yes, that’s always a problem, particularly when at close quarters with a minimum of time to think.
As for me, it’s both hands on the pistol, sights aligned, and wait to see what develops.
Probably not in the training manuals, but I don’t want to be wrong. But I don’t want to be dead either, and two males of any flavor following me around constitutes a threat...
I can’t believe the DA actually brought charges, and that he was found guilty. The system is rotten through and through.
And how could a judge find him guilty without a jury trial??
The mind boggles.
Nothing like having secret police witnesses.
He definitely should have opted for a jury trial.
And if he instead had not pulled a knife but started running, we all know they would have chased and tackled him, then charged him with resisting arrest. Thugs.
I am pleased to see they printed the cop’s name though... ;-)
What a travesty
Why were they following him? The LEO’s were out with concealed weapons (common I know) and taser’s?
Did they just pick some random guy to “tail” for training??
Doesn’t sound like this guy had any cause to be followed by the police.. I didn’t see anywhere that they suspected him of something..
Note that the trainer officer was male and his student a female.
Here the senior officer saw an “excellent opportunity” for a training exercise with no real danger to our intrepid duo. Now the newbie has an arrest under her belt, yeehaw!
Should have been no charge in the first place, and the judge should have thrown it out. Or as others noted, victim shoulda gone for a jury trial.
A recent Portsmouth District Court ruling should raise a few eyebrows among people who were alive in September 2001.
In the ruling, Judge Sawako Gardner dismissed two charges filed against a Laconia man that alleged he was a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon and driving a stolen 1988 Ford truck.
First, the judge ruled that police couldnt prove the man was driving a stolen truck because they couldnt provide the court with a value of the vehicle.
The second, more fascinating decision involves what the man was in possession of when he was arrested. It was a box cutter, which, Judge Gardner ruled, is not a dangerous weapon.
But if theyre not dangerous, then why arent people allowed to bring them on airplanes?
And this gem of a headline:
Crazed Portsmouth New Hampshrie District Court Judge Sawako Gardner Sets Mans Bail At $15,000 For Stealing $2 Bottle Of Beer - Our Tax Dollars At Work In Rockingham County
He took his life in his hands when he gave them the benefit of the doubt and did that. Anyone who can speak can yell "police." The only positive I can see here is that one more person will understand that governmental authority, as currently practiced, can't be trusted and is not on the side of the people.
Japanese gardeners used to have more sense.
I didn’t even catch the “secret police witness” BS. Insane.
And be charged with battery should he resist.
“A crime was not committed,” he told the court. “He was protecting himself against unknown people following him.”
“It doesn’t matter who was behind you,” the judge said, while explaining that Almon was guilty of the charge for placing another person in fear of bodily injury.”
So, apparently this judge believes that a person does not have the right to defend himself against suspicious people following him until he is attacked. At which time it would be too late.
Brilliant! Sign him up for Homeland Security.
I hope he fights this and wins.
When I was a young pup I had a pretty fast little Coronet that my girlfriend and I were driving around in late one night. I pulled up to a light and of course being young I had to be the first one off of it, even if it was just granny sitting there next to me. On the following light the same car I just beat again pulled up and this time revved his motor, looking for a race. We both left the light fast, I won, and he then whipped in behind me and started tailing me close.
Since I had my girlfiend with me and there were two guys in that car I wasn’t going stop of course, I got a little nervous when he followed my turns so I started looking for a cop. I sure found one when I was boxed in by two cars, and cops jumping out with their guns drawn.
I was dragged from my car, hand cuffed and taken to the station where I was charged with fleeing and eluding, evasion and reckless driving. Seems the two plain clothes cops in their UNMARKED police car said that they identified themselves by flashing their badge to me. I had to hire an attorney, go to court and my lawyer made them both look like a couple of dumbasses when he got done questioning them.
I got all charges dropped, but go to spend a night in the Detroit jail (THAT was fun). All because they decided to charge me with a BS charge instead of just speeding and let me go with a traffic ticket that I admitted to the judge I probably deserved.
Even the judge agreed with my lawyer that he wouldn’t have stopped either with two men following him around at night under those conditions on Gratiot Ave. I see stories like this and I always remember the feeling of having those guns leveled against me while I was handcuffed.
It doesn't? So in this elected or appointed despots mind no citizen has any right to self defense whatsoever?
I hope he does. This is crazy.
We have de facto prohibition in this country. This time they did it without a Constitutional amendment.
The liquor enforcement police try to trap liquor store operators for things like selling to minors - typically operated as a sting - otherwise known as contributing to delinquency of minor if anybody but them do it.
They also try to catch bars for "overserving". They trail patrons and try to talk them into giving them a breathalyzer sample so they can cite the bar owner.