By Abigail Swallow
SACRAMENTO – An unhoused man who violated rules of a mission where he was eating a free meal, is now set for trial on two felonies after a tussle with Sacramento police officers called there to remove him—but they apparently escalated the situation by using handcuffs.
Indika Dale allegedly refused to leave a church and subsequently resisted the officers’ efforts to physically remove him.
Dale’s case was heard in a preliminary hearing here in Sacramento County Superior Court this week. He faces two counts, both related to Penal Code section 69, which makes it illegal to use of violent action to deter or stop an executive officer from performing their duties.
Officer Woods was injured during a confrontation with Dale. Officer Singh was a witness. (first names not available through the Zoom livestream).
Earlier this year, the police department received a call from an employee of Union Gospel Church and homeless shelter, requesting Dale be removed from the church property and issued a Notice of Trespassing as he was behaving disrespectfully and not obeying rules of the church by eating inside of the chapel.
Officer Woods and his partner left in separate cars and arrived at the church. Upon arrival, they contacted an employee of the church, who directed them to the location of Dale. Officer Woods and his partner proceeded to begin conversations with Dale, asking him to leave the premises.
Dale, they said, repeatedly stated, “But I didn’t do anything,” in response to the request that he leave the property. Woods testified that he attempted to utilize de-escalation tactics to reason with Dale and persuade him to leave on his own volition. These de-escalation tactics, he said, proved to be unsuccessful.
As a result of Dale refusing to walk out of the property on his own, the two officers on the scene proceeded to place him in a control hold. The officers flanked either side of Dale and began to walk him out.
After walking approximately 10-15 feet, Officer Woods said he felt that Dale was tensing his muscles in an effort to escape the hold. In order to ensure that Dale leave the premises, the officers decided to place handcuffs on him, which were to be removed once he exited. At this point, Officer Woods had no intention of arresting him, he testified.
The officers claimed that Dale resisted handcuffs being put on him, and struggled with them, ending with Dale landing on top of Officer Woods, on the ground.
Woods said there was then a “fast moving, physically rough altercation” when Dale allegedly placed his hands around Officer Woods’ neck and said, “You’re a weak boy” to the officer. Eventually, Officer Woods’ partner was able to maneuver Dale to the ground and apply the handcuffs. Woods suffered a cut to his thumb. Dale sustained no known injuries.
Dale was arrested and eventually arraigned on the two counts related to Penal Code section 69.
At argument, Assistant Public Defender Karri Iyama asked that the People consider a PC section 17(b) motion which would reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor so that Dale might be eligible for Mental Health Court and placement in a more permanent housing situation.
Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jack stated the People were not inclined to approve the motion because of Dale’s prior criminal history and inclination toward violence. Dale had previously served four years in state prison for a felony armed burglary charge.
Judge Tami Bogert noted that the defendant also had prior juvenile charges. She stated that, despite the fact that Dale is young, at 26 years old, and she hopes they can in fact help make him eligible for housing services, his use of force against officers and his prior felony conviction makes her inclined to deny the 17b motion for a felony reduction to a misdemeanor.
The court found that there is sufficient evidence to hold the defendant to answer on two charges as felonies. A trial is scheduled for September 16, 2020, at 8:45 a.m. in Sacramento Superior Court Department 63.
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