Arizona deputy charged in beating of West Fargo man
A sheriff’s detective from Arizona who allegedly drove to West Fargo in September and brutally assaulted a man who had an affair with his wife was arrested Wednesday in Phoenix.
Detective Timothy Abrahamson of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department was taken into custody at his workplace on an arrest warrant for an aggravated assault charge filed in Cass County last Friday.
The Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office also granted immunity from prosecution to a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy who allegedly rode to West Fargo with Abrahamson, in exchange for the deputy’s testimony.
In North Dakota, such immunity offers require approval from the Attorney General’s Office.
The victim in the assault, 41-year-old Jason Swart, lost part of his right ear in the attack and suffered serious facial cuts, bruising and swelling that “appeared to be consistent with multiple strikes to the face with some sort of weapon,” West Fargo Police Detective Derek Cruff wrote in a search warrant affidavit.
“It appears to me that it was a well-planned out, long-time planned out event,” Cruff said.
Sarasota officer fired in wake of beating video
Sarasota Police Officer Scott Patrick is out a job after he was caught three months ago on video beating and choking a man outside a Sarasota nightclub. The video was released by a Sarasota judge Wednesday.
According to Sarasota Police detectives, Officer Patrick admitted hitting Jason Dragash ten times in the face and choking him unconscious during his arrest for disorderly intoxication.
The Death of a Slave-Catcher
2nd District Judge Noel Hyde determined last week that there is sufficient evidence to order Matthew David Stewart to stand trial on charges of aggravated murder, a capital offense; seven counts of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; and production of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony based on a shootout at his Ogden home in January.
Subpoenas have been issued to nearly all members of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force who served a search warrant at Stewart’s home on Jan. 4. The officers had received information from a disgruntled ex that Stewart was growing marijuana.
Officers arrived at Stewart’s house in the middle of the night and broke in. Stewart claims he thought that he was being robbed, while the officers say they clearly announced their presence.
Stewart is accused of opening fire on the officers when they entered his house.
The man’s family contends that he is a “police scapegoat” who didn’t hear officers announce their presence. He has said he thought that he was being robbed.
Stewart allegedly “advanced on the officers as they were trying to evacuate the residence and continued firing at the officers as they moved away from the house.”
One officer was killed and five were wounded, as was Stewart.
Investigators later found a handful of marijuana plants. Stewart, a veteran, insists that he used marijuana to treat a variety of physical and psychological conditions that are the residue of his time in the military.
Stewart’s family has adamantly supported him, calling the incident a “tragic misunderstanding.”
“We’re devastated by Matthew being made a scapegoat for violent mistakes and procedures of the police,” the Stewart family wrote at HelpMatthewStewart.org. “Matthew is suffering tremendously, being treated as a guilty convict for 10 months before his trial even reached the preliminary hearing.”
They said Stewart has “struggled just to survive” the injuries he sustained in the shooting. They report that he has been kept in a 5-by-9-foot cell for 23 hours a day and is a casualty of the “war on drugs.”
“Matthew is a victim of the drug war, a survivor of police violence, a police scapegoat and political prisoner,” the statement reads. “We must support him and all political prisoners — or all our civil liberties will be lost.”
That’s this week’s Police Accountability Report brought to you by CopBlock.org.
Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights.