Bail reduced for man accused of assaulting Steamboat officer

Attorney says Rodney Williams was defending himself in incident

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Rodney Williams III

— The bail for a man accused of assaulting a police officer and trying to take another officer’s gun was cut in half to $50,000 Wednesday in Routt County Court.

Rodney Will­iams III, 23, had a portion of his preliminary hearing Wed­nes­day before Routt Coun­ty Judge James Garr­echt. The hearing, which decides whether the case will move forward to District Court, consisted of testimony from two Steam­boat Springs Police De­part­ment officers but was continued to 11 a.m. on March 23 because two defense witnesses did not appear to testify.

Police contend that at about 2 a.m. Jan. 20, Williams tried to flee from police in his truck on the west side of Steamboat Springs. Williams then jumped out of the truck and ran. Police caught up with Williams, and police say he resisted arrest.

Routt County public de­fen­der Sher­yl Uhl­mann represented Will­iams and argued Wed­nes­day that her client was not a flight risk. All his family lives in Colorado, she said.

Fourteenth Judicial District Chief Dep­uty Dis­trict Attor­ney Rus­ty Prin­dle said he thought Will­iams was a flight risk be­cause of the 24-year prison sent­ence he could get if found guilty of the 13 charges.

Garrecht decided to lower bail after hearing that Williams’ mother would bail him out. The judge warned Williams that there would be significant financial implications for Williams’ mother if he did not return to court. The bail was reduced at the end of Wednesday’s hearing.

The court heard detailed testimony from officers Doug Scherar and Scott Middleton, the two officers involved in the Jan. 20 incident.

The most serious charges Williams faces are related to a scuffle he reportedly got into with police. Scherar testified that Williams sped away during an attempted traffic stop. Williams then ran from his vehicle, and Scherar said he chased him. Scherar pointed his Taser at Williams until Middleton arrived. Scherar testified that when the officers were trying to put Williams in handcuffs, Williams resisted and grabbed Middleton’s legs, throwing him off balance. The scuffle then ensued. Scherar testified he tried to use his Taser on Williams six times, but it was not disabling him. Williams at one point tried to grab the Taser, Scherar said. Williams also tried to grab Middleton’s sidearm. That is when the officers began punching Williams, but Williams continued resisting arrest, Scherar testified.

After the testimony from the officers, Williams’ attorney said there were significant legal issues and questions prosecutors would have to address.

“The reality is this is a man who was getting severely beaten and acting in his own defense,” Uhlmann said. “He has a right to defend himself from excessive force.”

Prindle countered that a jury would have to decide whether Williams was acting in self-defense.

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or e-mail mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

callguinness 3 years, 2 months ago

THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN!!

Why would you lower the bail just because his mother says she is going to bail him out. His bails was originally set for a reason.

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2011/feb/10/judge-refuses-lower-bail-man-accused-fighting-stea/ "Routt County Judge James Garrecht on Wednesday refused to lower the $100,000 bail set for a man accused of trying to disarm two Steamboat Springs Police Department officers and assaulting one of them."

So what is so different now that we know we are going to have someone bail him out at the lower cost. If his mom wants to bail him out then by all means but let her come up with the 100K or whatever a bail-bonds man will take to put up the bail for this creep. At least then we would have either more than enough money to go after him or it would be the bail-bonds man would would be after him when he doesn't show up for his court date.

Secondly this whole idea that Williams was defending him self is just crazy. He is luck officer Scherar didn't shoot and kill him. Trying to take a fire arm from an officer is defendable with deadly force. Oh well maybe next time Scherar will be able to get the shot off with being worried about hitting his fellow officer. Then we wouldn't even have to worry about all this court BS. I hope this does not get pled out and that a jury can sit down and listen to this story cause I would think any reasonable person would want this guy locked up in a dark place for many years to come.

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kathy foos 3 years, 1 month ago

Poor wording Pilot, to call an attack on the officers doing their job a "scuffle".Thank goodness the officers are O.K.They are my first concern,not some idiot who thinks he has the right to start crap(not complieing with the law officers request )and then battling them like Tarzan. This public defender has miss stated to say that the suspect has the right to defend himself.He had the right to cooperate and act reasonably on first contact with the officers,after that,in my opinion when he fought ,ran,etc ,its a whole new ball game,brought on by the cocky, ignorant suspect,who decided to put the officers at risk with his stupidity.His ignorance is one thing ,he will pay for in the system,but you calling it a scuffle and saying he had the right to fight back is just plain stupid,harmful and goes too far in propaganda.In my opinion you should be reprimanded for suggesting that a lawless act against the officers is O.K,it goes too far and sets a bad example to people who read your statement(you are after all a lawyer).It says its O.K. to fight a cop off under some cirsumstances.Wrong.You have the right to be nice and respectfull and then they will also do the same for you.If you fight them,its wrong and you will never get away with it,ever!Remember all of the officers who die and are injured in the line of duty?Support the police .

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