Fight with officer nets 38 days in county jail
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: January 19, 2013
A Jackson man will spend the next 20 weekends in jail after pleading guilty to an attempt to break a police officer’s hand last summer.
Christopher Shawn Freeman, 38, opted to serve his 38-day prison sentence for interference with a peace officer and DUI on weekends. He was sentenced Monday during a hearing in 9th Circuit Court.
Judge James Radda suspended $2,000 in fines because Freeman will be paying a $72 fee every time he checks into jail.
Freeman must also write a letter of apology to Cpl. Frederic O’Connor, the officer he admitted he attacked with his handcuff chain in an attempt to avoid taking a blood test in August. He must also complete Teton County’s drug court program and undergo treatment for alcohol abuse.
In court, Freeman admitted he had spent the night of Aug. 21 drinking, which police officers noted when they pulled him over for speeding. He refused to take a portable breath test but failed sobriety tests, so police arrested him for DUI, he said.
The officers got a warrant for a blood or urine sample. Freeman told them he didn’t want to take a blood test, but officers took him to St. John’s Medical Center to comply with the court order, he said.
After that, Freeman said, he doesn’t remember specifics.
“I was still pretty intoxicated,” he said. “All I remember was struggling with the officer and trying to get away from him.”
Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allen read a police affidavit, and Freeman’s lawyer, Teton County Public Defender Rob Stepans, agreed the court could accept it as true.
The affidavit says Freeman struggled with police officers and wrapped the chain between his handcuffs around O’Connor’s hand. He pulled it tight and held it there, causing O’Connor pain, according to court files.
O’Connor couldn’t free himself until he “kneed” Freeman in the leg, court files state.
As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, the interference charge was re-duced to a misdemeanor on the condition that Freeman plead guilty. The deal also specified that Freeman would spend no more than 40 days in jail in addition to the 22 he served when he was arrested.
Radda sentenced Freeman to 38 days for a total of 60 days in jail, and three years of supervised probation.
Radda allowed Freeman to serve the jail time on weekends so he could keep his job, which is his family’s source of health insurance. Freeman will be required to reimburse the jail for the expense of booking and releasing him repeatedly.