Another fired corrections officer claims detective unfair

2013-01-08T10:31:00Z 2013-01-08T11:19:53Z Another fired corrections officer claims detective unfairKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 08, 2013 10:31 am  • 

Another defense attorney is claiming prosecutors and detectives were unfair when they sought an indictment against several corrections officers accused of assault.

According to court documents, Suzanne Crawford is going to tell Judge Michael Cruikshank next Monday her client, Angel Castañeda, joined the fray late in the game and only because he thought he and his co-workers were about to get stabbed.

Back in September, several Pima County corrections officers were arrested after they were accused of beating up four people outside the Buffet Bar, 538 E. Ninth St., near North Fourth Avenue. 

One of those arrested (and later fired) was Crawford's client.

Crawford says in court documents that when you look at video of the attack, it clearly shows that corrections officer Matthew Garcia attacked one of the victims while he was unlocking his bike and corrections officers John Hyatt and Steve Heglund held Garcia back while an unnamed corrections officer tried to calm the victim down.

The video also shows the victim going back into the bar, coming out with a friend and "re-engaging" the corrections officers, Crawford said.

It's only after all of this happens, Crawford says, that her client comes out of the bar. 

Crawford says her client was bending down talking to one of the victims when the guy suddenly stood up with a backpack in his hand and threatened to "slice" them all with a knife.

"Having no knowledge of what had previously taken place, Castañeda acted singularly to stop a sudden, unexpected deadly threat when he punched (the man)," Crawford said.

Crawford complains in her motion that Detective Olga Ramirez neglected to mention the guy Castañeda punched had ready access to a backpack or the verbal exchange he had with Castañeda.

Crawford also complains grand jurors were told Castañeda told the man "That's what you get (expletive)" without any context.

The statement, on it's own, "makes little sense, but would make complete sense if Castañeda had said this in response to a deadly threat," Crawford wrote.

"The statement, taken together with how swiftly and decidedly Castañeda punched (the victim) tends to show Castañeda did, in fact, perceive a deadly threat," Crawford went on to write.

Crawford isn't the only defense attorney who wants the case re-presented to the grand jury. So does Jacob Amaru, who represents Hyatt.

 Judge Cruikshank will hear oral arguments from the attorneys Monday.

 

 

 

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