Peace Officer and Defendant Provide Conflicting Testimony in Case of Resisting Arrest

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YoloCourt-26By Mariel Barbadillo

The trial of the People v. Michael George Pedersen resumed the morning of July 19, 2016, with witness testimonies and presentation of evidence.

Proceedings began with Deputy District Attorney Alex Kian calling the prosecution’s first and only witness: Officer Jack Hatton, a peace officer in West Sacramento. Officer Hatton was on duty the day of November 15, 2015, when the incident with Mr. Pedersen occurred.

Around 1:00 PM that afternoon, the officer was traveling westbound to catch a speeder when he noticed several cars veering into the left lane on Industrial Boulevard in West Sacramento.

Upon seeing the cars swerving, Officer Hatton thought there might be an object in the road posing a hazard to drivers. He then saw a subject (later identified as Mr. Pedersen) stepping on and off the sidewalk. The officer also described the defendant as “dancing” and “flailing,” which the officer demonstrated to jurors by waving his arms above his head.

Officer Hatton drove by Mr. Pedersen and used the speaker microphone in his vehicle to advise the defendant to get off the roadway. The defendant yelled something back that was unintelligible to the officer, and continued to behave in a similar manner.

At this point, Officer Hatton made a U-turn to contact Mr. Pedersen once more. The officer claims he did this with the intention of checking Mr. Pedersen’s welfare and making sure he was okay.

Officer Hatton exited his vehicle and instructed Mr. Pedersen to have a seat on the curb. The defendant did not comply and, according to the officer, “seemed confrontational.” He was not yelling, but seemed agitated nonetheless, telling the officer there was no reason for him to be stopped.

As he got closer, Officer Hatton said he smelled the odor of marijuana. He considered that Mr. Pedersen’s seeming lack of coordination might have been attributed to being under the influence of the drug.

The officer then grabbed Mr. Pedersen by the arm, led him to the vehicle, and conducted a pat down search. When the defendant continued to resist, the officer attempted to use handcuffs, but he was unsuccessful due to Mr. Pedersen’s efforts.

While Officer Hatton recounted these events, Mr. Pedersen (in Judge Rosenberg’s words) “seemed to be overcome with emotion.” He began shaking his head and turned away from the jurors, weeping. His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Aram Davtyan, took him outside for a few moments before the officer continued his testimony.

After continued resistance from the defendant, Officer Hatton said he attempted to take Mr. Pedersen to the ground by means of a leg sweep. However, the defendant slipped out of the officer’s grasp and began to run away.

Officer Hatton proceeded to chase after the defendant. Acting on what had happened during their first encounter, the officer took hold of Mr. Pedersen, took him to the ground, and handcuffed him.

The prosecution went on to present video footage from Officer Hatton’s car camera. Officer Hatton explained that the camera is always recording, but it does not capture footage until activated. In this case, the camera was activated when Officer Hatton turned on his emergency lights as he drove up to Mr. Pedersen the second time.

The video, time-stamped at 1:04 PM on November 15, 2015, shows Officer Hatton asking Mr. Pedersen multiple times to sit on the curb. The two are seen conversing for a while until the officer leads Mr. Pedersen toward the vehicle. The remainder of the video is out of the camera’s view and unintelligible due to loud shuffling noises.

During cross-examination, Officer Hatton disclosed that he did not at any point ask Mr. Pedersen why he was stepping off the curb. Nor did the officer ask about marijuana and conduct a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation to determine if the defendant was under the influence, though there was an opportunity to do so.

When asked by the prosecution why he did not ask such questions, Officer Hatton said he was more concerned about gaining compliance.

The defense then asked what specifically about Mr. Pedersen made the officer think there was a possibility he was carrying a weapon. Officer Hatton said that, because of Mr. Pedersen’s baggy clothes, he assumed the defendant might have had a weapon, prompting the officer to conduct the pat down search. The officer, however, said Mr. Pedersen did not threaten him in any way.

After a short recess, the defense called Mr. Pedersen to the witness stand.

The defendant admitted he stepped off the curb into the area near the gutter, but he cited the DMV handbook in saying that area is considered part of the “legal sidewalk” and what he did was “one-hundred percent legal.” He contended that he did not step further out into the road onto oncoming traffic.

Moreover, Mr. Pedersen said cars were not swerving around him and he was not flailing his arms as the officer described.

Speaking of the confrontation with Officer Hatton, Mr. Pedersen claimed the officer spoke in an “intimidating fashion” when he told him to sit on the curb. He said the officer “sounded like a bully,” and that is why he did not want to comply.

When asked why he ran away when the officer tried to handcuff him, Mr. Pedersen said, “Because I was scared.” He thought the officer was attempting to arrest him on false charges.

After running away from the officer for some time, Mr. Pedersen said he turned around completely with his arms straight up to surrender. Officer Hatton then tackled him.

Mr. Pedersen says he was “not resisting in any way, shape, or form.” He pleaded with the officer, “Stop hurting me.” The defendant received some scrapes on his legs, but his prior hip and spine injuries are now worse following the altercation.

During cross-examination, the prosecution asked about a portion of the video footage in which Officer Hatton appears to be saying, “Sit down on the curb, I’m just going to talk.”

According to Mr. Pedersen, the officer did not initially say, “I’m just going to talk.” The defendant claims, “The video footage appears to be manipulated.”

Mr. Pedersen is charged with resisting or obstructing a police officer. There are three parts to the charge: refusing to comply, pulling away from an officer, and running from an officer.

The defense is arguing that Mr. Pedersen was unlawfully detained.

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The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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19 thoughts on “Peace Officer and Defendant Provide Conflicting Testimony in Case of Resisting Arrest”

  1. The Pugilist

    I remain concerned about the WSPD.  Seems like that is a police department in need of reform and I question why this case was even brought forward.  I don’t really see the crime here that underlies it.

  2. ryankelly

    What law was being broken?  The officer admitted that he was just concerned about compliance and had no reason to detain the individual.  Why is this case in court at all?

  3. Marina Kalugin

    trust the defendant always…the cops lie …too often and too much and they are trained to cover up and they do that so well…

    I say this a victim of abusing behavior by cops this lifetime as an elderly white woman.

    I say this as the mother of two sons,  brilliant white young men, who both had incidents where cops lied on police reports..and where is cost me inumerable thousands as a single mother and countless hours while trying to work 24/7 to get them off the lies and trumped up charges by Woodland police….

    I will never be able to serve on a jury again…and they made the mistake last year of choosing one of my sons as a juror when he told the truth during selection..

    Because he always tells the truth, and they still selected him, the DUI case was 11-1….you see, he was not the driver of a car back in the day…and yet, he was hung out to dry because he took the fifth…and so on..

    Of course, this case last fall, was 11-1…. the cops could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a DUI…

    Of course, my son who lived a nightmare, and I who lived a nightmare, and my other family members who also lived nightmares at the hands of cops, have a different level of beyond a reasonable doubt.

    If we were not involved and didn’t see it with our own eyes, then we will always have doubts, right???/

    Jeesh people….get a clue, and a grip and get rid of the good ole boy cops network…get people in as judges who can and will be interested in the truth…there are some around…not many…

    1. South of Davis

      Marina wrote:

      > I say this a victim of abusing behavior by cops this

      > lifetime as an elderly white woman.

      This will surprise David since after reading the Vanguard you would think that all cops only go after people of color (working with the fake liberal teachers in town who suspend the people of color from school for no reason while keeping them out of the AIM and GATE programs)…

      1. Marina Kalugin

        David was NOT surprised…when I shared my story with him not long ago.

        and, the teachers do not keep children of color out of gate…the idiot former super (who had his own agenda and was not quite bright enough to understand the difference)  and those on the school board are the ones who did that….

        back in the day when there was only 30 kids per grade allowed in, it became the top 1% of the top 1% in Davis….

        At the time, it was extremely diverse….

        The rules are now stacked against many students, who would qualify in any other CA town for GATE, out of the GATE program..

        because the only option now is the Common core in the “mainstream” classes and the GATE for those in the top %, more children and parents are choosing GATE over their “neighborhood” schools…

        that is why most GATE identified now choose to commute and so on…..in the past, many didn’t choose it…

        And, please start calling GATE what it is….   AIM????   what a pc  bunch of nonsense…….

        Also, I agree with private testing…

        many of the most brilliant in town may be second language learners etc…

        and, the school district should fund that for those who cannot afford it….that would work to get at least 30-40% of the kids in town into the GATE…

        an appropriate percentage for this population….

        and now, if only the school board would get rid of the unproven, and destructive, “common core”   experiment…..get a clue it is not working…

        then students won’t all want to bail from their neighborhood schools ….

         

         

  4. Marina Kalugin

    trust the defendant in this case and always..

    so what if one perp goes free…how many innocent people have been killed in prisons and under the death penalty and have now had their names cleared after the DNA evidence posthumously…

     

  5. Marina Kalugin

    PS>  and what a stupid charge  “resisting arrest” …..

    unless there was a real proven crime that should not even be allowed…  there should never be a “case’ of resisting arrest only…how absurd…

    who in their right mind would allow to be arrested when they did nothing wrong….buncha idiot laws

     

     

        1. Marina Kalugin

          David, I shared with you the nightmare of my “hit and run”….jeesh….my husband almost attacked the officers…jeez wouldn’t that have made the nightmare worse…  he may have been killed …. sighhh

           

  6. Marina Kalugin

    that was Fairfiled CHP>…the incident was outside Curry road on 80  outside Dixon…my arrest may still “come up” on a background check…

    I immediately drove down the next day and got a copy of the tape of my discussion with the dispatcher when I called to report “something on the road” and did the CHP know about it…

    when the idiot DA finally listened to a copy of the tape, they laughed the CHP out of the court room..

    If I hadn’t already lived through other similar stuff with other family and friends that tape would not exist…

    If I didn’t have a copy it would have been “lost”…  many thousands of dollars, years and so much stress later, it was dismissed and my arrest still shows up ….

     

  7. Marina Kalugin

    it was all over the news and it was all over the media…fortunately, it was under my legal name, my former maiden name, my now “divorced” name,  not my current husband’s name either…nor my exes which I continued to use at UCD until very recently…

     

  8. Tia Will

    During cross-examination, Officer Hatton disclosed that he did not at any point ask Mr. Pedersen why he was stepping off the curb. Nor did the officer ask about marijuana and conduct a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation to determine if the defendant was under the influence, though there was an opportunity to do so.

    When asked by the prosecution why he did not ask such questions, Officer Hatton said he was more concerned about gaining compliance.”

    And here, in his own words, is what I see as a major training and philosophic issue. It would appear that he was more concerned about “gaining compliance” than about the possible causes of the observed behavior and/or the safety and well being of the citizen. We have seen this a  number of times in the taped examples of excessive use of force. It would seem that the police are being encouraged to value compliance above all else. Until we are able to refocus on the safety of the public and the individual being detained as the primary goal, I do not see an end to excessive use of force.

     

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      >  It would seem that the police are being encouraged

      > to value compliance above all else.

      This is true and why I make my kids watch the educational video in the link below at least once a year, because as Chris Rock says “If the Police have to come and get you they are bringing an ass kicking with them”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj0mtxXEGE8

  9. Marina Kalugin

    my white son, the brilliant UCD Regents scholar, told the cops “I have to take the fifth”…and that is all it took for them to through the book at HIM>…it was his car, but HE was not the driver….

    the cops lied….I was meeting for the first time with my new Director at UCD>>>.I had just started my new job and he had been traveling….we were meeting for the first time that afternoon..

    The kid who had coerced my son to “let him drive”   though he was a juvenile delinquent, with a rap sheet a mile long and also had been drinking was the driver…

    He tried to get my son to “take the fall” because if he had one more “thing” on his record, he would have to spend time in juve…

    That nightmare happened in 2004…..  when my son finally was released from jail overnight, he called me….I was too mad to come get him, and plus, I wanted to teach HIM a lesson….he had JUST turned 18…

    the kid with the rap sheet a mile long ran circles around the idiot Woodland cop…and he was let go since his “parents were coming to get him”….

    The parents were never coming…the kid never even told his parents…

    When I finally went to pick up my son in Woodland, the cop on duty had gone home…

    to be continued…

    PS>  THIS is also all public record….my son now has an arrest which came up when he applied for a FED job…

    though the case was dismissed, after much expense and many stressful days and nights and so on, he lost his license for 2 years…  The DMV officer said that though he KNOWS the evidence shows my son was not the driver, he is Teaching HIM a lesson….for not “cooperating” with the police…

    hung?   what happened to taking the FIFTH?

    the DMV officer’s name is Mr. Laughter….the creep truly killed off my son’s chances for many decent jobs, not to mention the devastation at being at the receiving end of such injustice and so much stress…

    since he was attending UCD it didn’t matter about the suspension……..his car was totalled by the drunk underage kid without a license, and that kid didn’t even get a slap on the hands…

    That kid’s dad is a UCD professor…still I think…they wanted my son to take the fall also….

    I got my son this nice used honda as a gift, when he got his full ride scholarship to UCD>>>>  instead, he only got to drive it for a few months….and was not allowed to drive for 2 years…

    We used that money for a high level attorney for an appeal for the DMV>>>but guess what, that is too late…. the DMV can do what they want…there is NO recourse…

    I called Steve Sabbadini’s office to represent my son….I had known him for decades..since he was a UCD student and took classes at the craft center…..and at the time, he was the best criminal law attorney in Yolo county..

    That is how I found out about the kid and his rap sheet…they could NOT take my case due to conflict of interest…the kid was already represented by that office for his other underage crimes…

    I have SO many documents, I have the time, place, form and event by all cops… I have the tapes and documents by the PI I hired…

    I have boxes of this kinda stuff in many locations….

    So much to ever share it all…..If someone wants any of that, I will search for it….

    But, I won’t have time for at least a week……have too many more pressing things at the moment…..

    Thus, this is not an invite for cops to break in and steal evidence…. ha ha…

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