AP NEWS

Alaska police officer pleads not guilty to assault charges

November 16, 2019

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting a man while on duty in September, court officials said.

Prosecutors have accused Anchorage Officer Cornelius Aaron Pettus, 32, of punching and kicking 49-year-old Sam Allen, Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.

Pettus was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault Oct. 11, according to court documents. The Class A misdemeanor could carry up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Pettus and another officer gave Allen a bicycle citation Sept. 30 before the suspected attack, prosecutors said.

Some department officers were believed to be familiar with Allen because of his YouTube account detailing interactions he had with police and uploaded cellphone footage of the encounters, Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said after the charges were announced.

Doll was unsure if Pettus or the other officer knew Allen before giving him the citation, he said.

“Officer Pettus disputes the charges and intends to exercise his rights to confront the State’s evidence,” defense attorney Clinton Campion said. Pettus responded in self-defense “based on what (he) perceived and knew at the moment of the incident,” she said.

Allen told reporters Friday after arraignment that he is still healing from his injuries.

“I forgive the dude. In my heart, I’m trying to. I’m in the process of doing that so I can move forward,” Allen said.

Pettus remains on paid administrative leave pending the results of the police department’s own internal investigation, police spokesman MJ Thim said in an email.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com