By Derrick Pal
SACRAMENTO — A defendant accused of causing a wild melee at a Golden 1 Center concert in 2019—and sending a police officer to the hospital—was held to answer at trial after a Sacramento County Superior Court preliminary hearing Monday.
Defendant Nathaniel Berumen is charged with one count of committing unlawful threats and violence to prevent executive officers from performing their duties and one count of willful and unlawful use of force and violence upon an officer, resulting in serious bodily injury.
On Oct. 26, 2019, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Sacramento Police Dept. Officer Kendra Armstrong and Sergeant Travis Hunkapiller—who later sustained a concussion at the hands of the defendant—were alerted by Golden 1 Center security officers of a disturbance.
According to testimony from Officer Armstrong, “upon contact with him, or coming close to contact, I could smell a strong odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath. Also, he was yelling, and as he was yelling, I could tell that his words were pretty slurred.
“He was yelling that he wasn’t going to leave as he was jerking wildly about. The staff was repeating that he needed to exit and comply, he just needed to move with them and stop fighting…he continued to be verbally assaultive, he was cussing at them, he just kept repeating that he wasn’t leaving, using explicit language, and continuing to just move wildly about,” said Armstrong.
Officer Armstrong explained how the defendant resisted, explaining, “As we were attempting to get his hands behind his back, he elbowed me [in the chest] and shot my body camera off, and I kind of stumbled backwards.”
“As he leaned forward, Hunkapiller was kind of on his backside leaning down with him, and I saw very quickly Berumen exploded back upwards which then caused Sergeant Hunkapiller to lose footing and fly completely with his feet in the air on his back, and I observed Sergeant Hunkapiller hit his head on the ground,” explained Officer Armstrong.
“I just quickly glanced at Sergeant Hunkapiller, it looked like he was pretty injured…he (defendant) was trying to punch staff and myself as we were attempting to take him down to the ground…he continued to be verbally assaultive, he was stating that ‘he loved to get hit in the face,’ ‘he loved to get in fights,’ he was challenging everybody to fight him,” Armstrong added.
According to testimony from Sergeant Hunkapiller, the defendant “was intoxicated, he was aggressive, belligerent, not cooperative.
“I was hoping to gain compliance from him, knowing that now a police officer’s involved…I told him the same thing the security guards at Golden 1 Center were telling him, hey look, they’re asking you to leave, it’s time to go,” the sergeant added.
However, Sergeant Hunkapiller explained, “He was getting more and more irritated, his movements were more pronounced, and I just wanted to get a little bit closer to him so I could put my hand on him just in case, just to protect myself and the other security officers.”
Sergeant Hunkapiller described this was when “he basically hip tossed me up over his body, completely lifting me in the air, and then throwing me to the ground, at which time that was when I hit my head, and that ground-level floor of the venue was concrete.”
“That’s when I basically blacked out for a few moments. I could not even begin to describe how long it was, it was maybe a few moments, a few seconds,” the sergeant said.
After arresting the defendant, Sergeant Hunkapiller stated he eventually was transported to the emergency room because he “got real dizzy, I threw up a couple times, and started to experience general nausea and a headache and dizziness.”
Based on the testimonies provided, Judge Kara Ueda found sufficient cause during this preliminary hearing that the defendant is guilty and is therefore should answer for the charges against him.
A future proceeding is set for April 9 at 1:30 p.m. in Dept 8.
Derrick Pal is a fourth-year student at Sacramento State majoring in Criminal Justice and pursuing a minor in Sociology. He is from Elk Grove, California.
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