Oak Creek sergeant back on duty

Former mayor 'still rattled' after being tased


— Oak Creek Sgt. Erik Foster was back on duty Monday after an incident early Saturday morning that resulted in the tasing and arrest of former Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman.

Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio said Monday that there was nothing out of the ordinary in the arrest, which resulted in Rodeman being charged with five misdemeanors, including resisting arrest and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Caterinicchio said he supported Foster's decisions during the pursuit and arrest.

"He is not suspended. He will not be suspended," Caterinicchio said. "(Foster) used great prudence and restraint."

Kris Hammond, a Steamboat Springs lawyer who is representing the three women involved in the incident, said Monday that Rodeman was still "very, very upset" and shaken by the experience.

"She's sore, she's got wounds on her leg and arm. She's very rattled about the whole thing," he said.

Hammond said he had discussed with Rodeman the idea of pressing a claim against the police department but had not decided how to proceed.

Oak Creek Town Trustee and Police Commissioner Dave Ege said there was no special meeting planned or held in response to the incident.

Mayor J. Elliot said the incident would not be reviewed unless it was brought before the Town Board, either through Caterinicchio or a citizen-submitted complaint.

"I've heard a lot of comments both ways," Elliot said. "They'll bring anything that's necessary before the board. Other than that, there's nothing at this point that I know."

Caterinicchio will lead the internal investigation into the matter, but he said he does not expect to bring it before the Town Board.

This is the first time since he became chief in September 2007 that an officer has used a Taser on a suspect, Caterinicchio said, but he defended its use as the most humanitarian option available to Foster, who is certified as an instructor on the device by Taser International.

Foster and Rodeman have histories of alleged misconduct in town. Rodeman has been arrested more than a dozen times and previously had been charged with DUI and eluding police in cases dating back to 1991.

At least one of her cases resulted in a conviction of driving with impaired abilities and mandated alcohol class and therapy.

Several accusations of misconduct against Foster have been leveled in the past year, but the complaints have not been made public and he has not been reprimanded.

In this incident, Rodeman failed to signal a turn about 1 a.m. Saturday and refused to pull over for Foster, who had turned on his flashing lights, Caterinicchio said. She instead sped up and drove two or three blocks to her house in the 100 block of Grant Avenue. She and two other female occupants, Tashera and Shoshanna Montoya, then went into the house in an apparent attempt to elude Foster, Cateriniccho said.

Caterinicchio said Foster followed the women into the house, but Shoshanna Montoya pushed the door against him as he entered, pinning Foster between the door and its frame.

Foster eventually entered the house and attempted to arrest Rodeman.

"She was warned she would be Tasered if she did not comply," Caterinicchio said. "When she failed to comply, he deployed the device."

The Taser first shot two prongs toward Rodeman, but only one made contact and no charge was sent. Foster then used the "drive" method to push the tip of the Taser into Rodeman and administer a shock.

Caterinicchio said the shock was warranted because "she physically raised her arms and resisted, and placed her body in such a way that Sgt. Foster was unable to affect the arrest."

Caterinicchio said no warrant was needed to enter Rodeman's home because it was a "fresh pursuit." Colorado law states an officer may enter a house and make an arrest if there are special circumstances or if an officer witnesses a suspect commit a crime. Caterinicchio said the crime witnessed by Foster was Rodeman eluding the police. Caterinicchio also said the door to the house was never fully closed.

Hammond said he would pursue Fourth and Fifth Amendment questions to determine whether the arrest was legal.

Police said Rodeman's blood alcohol level after her arrest was 0.102, higher than the 0.08 legal threshold for DUI.

Rodeman also was charged with a traffic infraction of failing to signal and the misdemeanors of eluding police, obstructing a police officer, resisting arrest, driving under the influence and driving under the influence, per se. Caterinicchio said more charges may be added in the next several days before the case is turned over to the District Attorney's Office.

Shoshanna Montoya also was arrested and charged with third degree assault and obstructing a police officer.

Tashera Montoya was given a citation for obstructing a police officer and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The two Montoyas reportedly called 911 from inside the house during the incident. Caterinicchio said he was going to review the tapes as part of his internal investigation.

Police in Oak Creek carry portable video and audio recording units that are intended to automatically turn on when officers prepare to make an arrest. Caterinicchio denied a request to view the tapes, but the Steamboat Pilot & Today has filed a Colorado Open Records request for the files, 911 tapes and police records.

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