Koch family not pressing charges over gate-crashing
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The family of conservative billionaire Charles Koch isn’t pushing for property damage charges against a man who’s accused of driving through the private gate of a home last month and ramming an officer’s patrol car.
Aron James White, 40, faces charges that include aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer. But a police affidavit for White’s arrest, previously filed in Sedgwick County District Court and publicly released on Thursday, shows that the residents requested that no charges be filed for damage to their property, The Wichita Eagle reports .
Police at the crime scene said White hit a private security vehicle before driving through a $20,000 metal security gate and damaging about $10,000 worth of landscaping. He’s accused of them ramming the patrol vehicle, injuring an officer’s hand.
He’s also charged with the aggravated assault of a panhandler who was a passenger in his car. Court records say White paid the panhandler more than $100 before asking him to ride along.
Authorities hadn’t publicly identified the Kochs as victims in the case, but records show that Chase Koch, the son of Charles Koch, lives at the address listed in police reports.
Billionaire Charles Koch was among the backers of the First Step Act, a federal criminal justice reform law signed by President Donald Trump in December. He has been supportive of such reform for years, shaped in part by his libertarian politics.
Koch Industries spokesman Rob Carlton declined a request for comment.
Investigators aren’t sure why White drove through the gate but did say drugs may have influenced his actions. He has no known connection to the Koch property and doesn’t live in the area. A search of White’s backpack found “syringes and spoons commonly used for preparing and ingesting illegal drugs.”
The affidavit said that White “displayed signs of impairment” the first time investigators attempted to interview him. A second time, White said he “needed his psychological medication and did not feel comfortable giving a statement without it.”
White’s ex-wife contacted police the day after his arrest and said he has been “manic,” ’'diagnosed with bipolar,” struggled with addiction and had threatened suicide. Court records show the ex-wife’s divorce from White was finalized Jan. 11, or four days before he was arrested.
This story has been corrected to remove the reference to David Koch’s involvement in the First Step Act.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com