Jury Deliberating in Trial of Man Accused of Resisting Arrest, Battery of Police in Domestic Violence Investigation

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By Brandon Blanco and Veronica Miller

WOODLAND, CA – “The street is not the place for Mark Meeks to fight the charges—that’s for the courtroom,” said Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin here in Yolo County Superior Court during closing arguments in the resisting arrest jury trial of Meeks Thursday.

The jury began deliberations later Thursday after the court heard the last witness testimony in the trial of Meeks, accused of resisting an officer, battery on a peace officer, battery against a cohabiting spouse, and one enhancement charge.

The court resumed its previous day’ activities, with the cross-examination of one of the two witnesses from the Woodland Police Department, Officer Ryan Eads.

When making the arrest of Meeks, Officer Eads verified that no weapons were found in his possession. Officer Eads confirmed that Meeks was escorted to the ground, face down in handcuffs, and a spit mask and body wrap were placed when the defendant was resisting. No weapons were drawn, nor were Tasers or pepper spays used, during the arrest.

And, when asked how the process of Emergency Protection Order (EPO) works, Officer Eads responded “emergency protective order or EPO is a restraining order that’s valid for five business days and it gives the victim enough time to come to the courthouse and file for a longer restraining order… We as police officers are required to ask the victim of domestic violence if they would like an EPO.”

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin later asked why was it was important at that time to attempt to locate Mr. Meeks. Officer Eads responded that “I had reasonable suspicion that a domestic violence incident had occurred.”

As for the incident that occurred on the video cam shown yesterday, DDA Serafin asked what the officer said after Eads felt his elbow come to his face once the Woodland PD put Meeks in the back of the police car.

Officer Eads responded that “I said ow that smarts, and Meeks responded that I elbowed myself.”

In closing arguments, DDA Serafin told the jury, “Citizens are your own first line of defense to keep yourself safe. But when citizens are unable to keep themselves safe, and they need help, they call the police. The police respond swiftly to keep the citizens of their community safe. They are sworn to protect and serve.

“On March 27 2021, Officer Eads and Officer Souza had a tough job to do. But they did it for the safety of their community and they did not retreat.

“On March 27, 2021, the victim (not named) called the police. He called 911 because he needed help he needed protection. From his intimate partner Mark Meeks. Officer Eads and Officer Souza responded. They take a statement from him and learned that there is an allegation of violence. The victim tells both officers that he was hit or ‘socked’ to the side of the head and was slapped and spit on numerous times. That was the information that officer Eads and Officer Sousa have.

“With that information, they looked for Mr. Meeks and that’s not something they can wait for…. This is an immediate situation that needs immediate action. And that’s what they did. Officer Eads didn’t even stay to take a complete statement from Mr. Smith. He jumped into action immediately and went looking for Mark Meeks who was in the area on foot and left officer Sousa there to speak with the victim,” said the DDA.

The DDA added, “After Officer Souza soon was done speaking with the victim, he got in his car and he noticed that there was a trespass call on Robin Drive. And he recognized the suspect in that call matching the description of Mr. Meeks.”

According to DDA Serafin, as the officers approach Meeks, Meeks starts to tense his arms and tries to get away from the officers and was placed in handcuffs by the officers.

DDA Serafin showed two video files to the jury that shows how during the arrest, Meeks shouts profane comments such as “Let me f**king go” as he resisted the two police officers when making the arrest.

As he was being placed in the back of the police car, the video also showed how Meeks said “I’m serious on my mama and on my dead father’s grave.” and “I’ll f**k you up” to the two police officers, implying that he was threatening to kill, according to the DDA.

The video also showed how even after he was handcuffed, put a body wrap, and a spit mask , Meeks continued to resist and move his legs around. This escalated to where Officer Eads was apparently elbowed by Meeks, and even Meeks said “you elbowed yourself.”

DDA Serafin concluded by asking the jury “to find Mr. Meeks guilty of counts one, two and three. There is more than enough evidence to show that he attempted to flee, using physical force and threatening those police officers in order to not be arrested that day. Thank you.”

Deputy Public Defender James Bradford began his closing argument by noting police had not completed all the steps that they should have done when coming onto the scene. He said they did not ask the neighbors if they had seen anything, they didn’t ask any questions that would confirm what hands he used to hit. Further, he stated that the officers did not go and look at the crime scene as they should have.

The DPD added that Meeks was drinking at the time of the incident that caused him to act out the way he did. Bradford argues that this caused him to not be able to make the best decisions due to his impaired mental state.

DPD Bradford argues that he was trying to defend himself though, with this impaired mental state he went about defending himself in the wrong way.

DPD Bradford wanted to also bring attention to the ways in which the officers handled the situation with Meeks in the videos. He recalled to the officers

DPD Bradford also argued police did not completed all the steps that they should have done when coming onto the scene. They did not ask the neighbors if they had seen anything, they didn’t ask any questions that would confirm what hands he used to hit. Further he stated that the officers did not go and look at the crime scene as they should have.

DPD Bradford notes that because Meeks was drinking at the time of the incident that caused him to act out the way he did. Bradford argues that this caused him to not be able to make the best decisions due to his impaired mental state.

DPD Bradford argues that he was trying to defend himself though with this impaired mental state he went about defending himself in the wrong way.

DPD Bradford noted the ways in which the officers handled the situation with Meeks in the videos. He recalled to the officers telling Meeks “Come on Mark. That’s another charge, Mark. You’re not going to do that Mark.”

DPD Bradford makes the claim that “the more reasonable conclusion would be that he would be thanking them for letting him go.”

DPD Bradford argued to the jury to question why Serafin would show them Meeks behavior in the hospital and in the jail. He claims that this was shown to them so that they would find Meeks guilty.

DPD Bradford lastly asked the jury to find Meeks not guilty on these charges because police had no probable cause to arrest Meeks in the first place.

He also asked the jury to find Meeks not guilty if they believe that Meeks could have hit the officers on accident, due to the officer pulling Meeks close causing him to hit them in the face.

DDA Serafin asked jurors how they would think about this case after the verdict.

“There was this guy who was just sitting in somebody’s front yard and the police went and contacted him for absolutely no reason and arrested him and then he fought,” the DDA suggested.

Or, she said, would they say, “The police had a job to do. They got a report of domestic violence. They went and found the suspect, they tried to talk to him. He didn’t really have anything to say, he lied to them. So they arrested him so he fought and it was ugly.”

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About The Author

Veronica is a senior at UC Davis majoring in Political Science Public Service. She is passionate about advocating for women's rights and plans on attending law school where she can continue to advocate.

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