(The video evidence counters the officers sworn testimony last year. The victim, because of the false testimony, was convicted of harassment charges. These charges have now been dismissed)
The five-minute video shows a police officer repeatedly slamming a man to the ground before taking him into custody. It does not include any sound. The incident happened July 12 of last year in front of the Alaska Commercial Co. store in the heart of Bethel.
Attorneys on both sides identified those involved as recently fired Bethel police officer Andrew Reid and Wassillie Gregory, who didn’t have a lawyer when he pleaded guilty to harassment two days after the encounter. In that case, the victim was Reid.
Based on the video, Gregory filed a document Thursday in Bethel District Court to rescind the conviction. Gregory had no memory of the encounter and relied on Reid’s sworn statement, Brown said in new court filing.
In his statement supporting criminal charges last July, Reid wrote: “I kindly tried to assist Gregory into my cruiser for protective custody when he pulled away and clawed at me with his hand.” Reid described a struggle that lasted 90 seconds.
Gregory wasn’t able to make his initial court appearance because of a “dislocated shoulder and possible broken collar bone,” according to court notes in the criminal file.
“The video presents new material facts, not previously presented and heard by the Court that requires vacation of the conviction in the interest of justice,” Brown said in the memorandum.
The city of Bethel does not condone officer Reid’s behavior, though the officer doesn’t think he did anything wrong, said Bill Ingaldson, an Anchorage lawyer defending the city of Bethel against any claims made on behalf of Gregory.
Reid’s last day of work with the city of Bethel was March 2, said city manager Ann Capela. She and Police Chief Andre Achee said they could not discuss why Reid no longer works as a city patrol officer. Ingaldson confirmed Reid was fired.
The same day, police Sgt. Amy Davis obtained a 72-hour protective order to shield Reid’s wife and child from him. Three days later, Reid’s wife obtained her own protective order for another 20 days.
“He has suicidal thoughts daily and is emotionally unstable,” she wrote March 5 in her petition. “I am worried about the safety of myself and child.”