UPDATE: Mesa County DA Dan Rubenstein has reportedly added a second misdemeanor obstruction charge.
Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the misdemeanor obstruction of a peace officer charge filed against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters yesterday, leading to her arrest and booking today (posterity mug shot right) in the first of what could well be a host of much more serious charges in the coming days:
The incident stems from an attempt by investigators to serve a search warrant for Peters’s iPad, which was allegedly used by Peters to record a court hearing Monday involving her deputy clerk’s burglary and cybercrime charges…
Investigators were speaking with Peters and a group sitting with the clerk, asking if they had the iPad. During this conversation, people in Peters’s group began passing the tablet around, the documents state.
At some point, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were called to the business to assist investigators in retrieving the iPad. The device was eventually obtained by authorities, but not before an alleged confrontation between officers and Peters, according to the affidavit…
And as the video we posted the day before yesterday indicated, here’s where Clerk Peters made a bad situation even worse for herself:
When officers arrived inside the bakery and approached Peters, she was placed in handcuffs for actively obstructing officers, according to the affidavit. As an officer was attempting to double lock the handcuffs, the county clerk allegedly used her right foot to try to kick one of the arresting officers. Peters was told by officers, “Do not Kick! Do you understand?” And “please relax,” the documents state. But the clerk replied by yelling, “No!” [Pols emphasis]
If we’re reading this correctly, the incident began with Mesa County investigators trying to retrieve Clerk Peters’ iPad to determine if it had been used to illegally record a court proceeding involving Peters’ subordinate Belinda Knisley. Peters and her entourage appear to have started playing some weird game of keep-away with the iPad, necessitating uniformed cops being called. And when the cops showed up to do the physical thing that they do with folks who don’t comply with lawful warrants…
Clerk Peters tried to kick a police officer.
We’re pretty sure that Peters didn’t actually hurt the officer, since if she had the charge would be assault not obstruction. But just like the solution to legtimate suspicions about voting equipment is never to tamper with the equipment yourself, you never, ever make your legal problems better by hassling cops. If you don’t understand that, there are many jobs you are unqualified for and retaining the public’s trust as a county clerk is just one of them.
The only consolation we can think of is there’s a good chance this will be one of the, you know, lesser charges.