Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Officer says he used discretion before arresting prof

Officer says he used discretion before arresting prof | "'Five times I asked him to stop,' the officer said. He then asked him if he was hearing impaired. Once Fernandez-Armesto confirmed he wasn't, Leonpacher said he grabbed the professor's arm. 'I let him go when he turned around to face me,' he said. Leonpacher then says he repeatedly asked Fernandez-Armesto for his identification, but the professor responded by asking for the officer's I.D.

When the historian allegedly repeatedly refused to produce ID (Fernandez-Armesto said he left his passport in his hotel room and was flummoxed when he realized he did not have it), Leonpacher said he told him he was under arrest. As he put his hands behind his back, 'he pulled away and grabbed me. He said 'leave me alone, let me go.' I told him 'you're under arrest, stop resisting.' '

Leonpacher, half Fernandez-Armesto's 56 years, contends he could not handcuff the professor by himself. 'He was swinging, kicking wildly,' Leonpacher said. Backup was called to assist in his detainment. They arrived almost immediately, Leonpacher said. According to the incident report, the cop quoted the professor as saying, 'Well now I believe that you are the police.'

Leonpacher insists he was a good representative for the city. He was working a part-time job that day -- with police consent, his superiors confirmed-- for the Hilton Hotel, trying to direct pedestrians to use crosswalks. Police describe the street as one of downtown's most dangerous for pedestrians."

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