In September of 2019, Anchorage Officer Cornelius Pettus responded to a call to an Anchorage address to serve a simple citation for bike equipment, and things went downhill from there.
Now, a grand jury has indicted him for beating up the bike owner, and another officer for falsifying a police report.
According to Pettus, the man had approached the officer with his fists balled up and in a fighting stance. That is what the police report shows, but the Grand Jury has said evidence shows otherwise.
Pettus has already pleaded not guilty in an Anchorage courtroom to the fourth-degree assault charge for beating then-49-year-old Samuel Allen.
Allen has a history of strong dislike of police and has made threats against police officers on YouTube. He is known to members of the police force, but it’s unknown if Pettus was familiar with him.
Today the Office of Special Prosecutions indicted Pettus and Officer Doerman Stout on obstruction charges resulting from their actions that day.
Chief Justin Doll sent out press release in which he convicted the two men in advance of their due process court date, saying, “In violating the law, these individuals not only disappointed the employees they work with, they also failed the community they swore to serve.”
In an usual statement for the force’s commanding officer, Doll said the two men had failed the community and disappointed their fellow officers.
There had been no charges against Stout, but the Grand Jury indicted him for his incident report that said the man took a fighting stance, based on evidence they saw, perhaps on the patrol car camera.
At a time when there is a national movement among Democrats and Black Lives Matter supporters to defund the police departments of America, the racial composition of all police-related incidences are of interest to the public. In this case, Officer Pettus is black, Stout is white, and Allen is Alaska Native.
“It is important to remember that neither officer has been found guilty of violating any laws. It is also important to remember that Officer Aaron Pettus and Officer Levi Stout are fathers, sons, friends, and commnity members,” said Jeremy Conkling of the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association.
“Unfortunately, it appears these officers have been caught in the crosswinds of an incredibly divided nation and a politicized criminal justice system. When politics are injected into the criminal justice system, justice is lost,” Conkling said.
“The APDEA supports our two officers. Tomorrow Aaron and Levi will stop receiving paychecks from the Municipality of Anchorage and will face a long, difficult road in proving their innocence,” Conkling said. “I ask all of our citizens and members to be patient while this process unfolds. Wait for all the facts before passing judgment on two dedicated public servants. We trust in the criminal justice system, especially when the system fairly and objectively applies the rule of law. Once the full picture is revealed once we learn of he officers’ true intentions, I am convinced that justice will prevail, and the officers will be exonerated of all charges.”
Allen had used his cellphone to record his interaction with Pettus earlier that evening when Pettus had stopped him for riding a bike without lights or reflectors. But earlier that day, Allen had also recorded another Anchorage officer dragging a K-9 out of police headquarters by its leash, a piece of video footage that went viral.