Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2009
Officer, dog square off against Modesto mob of 60
By Leslie Albrecht
A Modesto police officer had to pull his gun to keep a hostile crowd at bay early Sunday.
The officer sustained minor injuries in the southwest Modesto incident, said police spokesman Sgt. Brian Findlen. Police are not releasing the officer`s name. The officer`s dog was assaulted but not seriously injured, Findlen said. Police arrested several suspects in connection with the incident. A loaded assault rifle was found later at the scene of the struggle, which unfolded about 2 a.m.
Findlen said the officer pulled his gun only after other deterrents, including his police dog, failed to keep the crowd under control. “In a situation where you really feel that your life is in imminent danger, your options become very few,” Findlen said.
Some members of the crowd told the officer that “he was not going to leave the scene alive,” according to police.
The crowd of as many as 60 people included some known gang members, Findlen said. Police believe the group was gathered for a party in the 1700 block of Pelton Avenue. The officer happened upon the group when he was responding to another call in the area.
It doesn`t say that it was a Hispanic mob, but almost all the people mentioned by name are Hispanic:
The officer saw several people assaulting one man, Findlen said. As the officer tried to break up the fight, the crowd`s attention shifted from the assault victim to the officer. The crowd surrounded the officer. The officer sent his dog into the crowd in an attempt to stop the group.
The dog apprehended one suspect, who police later identified as 18-year-old Alfredo Espinoza of Modesto. As the officer tried to arrest Espinoza, the crowd pulled Espinoza away from the officer.
According to police, some in the crowd then challenged the officer to a fight. One suspect attacked the officer, police said.
Other arrestees included 20-year-old Modesto resident Andrew Mitchell, 19-year-old Modesto resident Matthew Reyes, William Rodriguez, 29, of Modesto, and Junior Suarez, 19, of Modesto. (Andrew Mitchell would be what`s called an “outlier.”) But unless Modesto`s police decided to arrest only Hispanics at the scene, I`ll assume it was a Hispanic mob. Which reminds me that large sections of French cities are “no-go” areas for French police and government, and that it can happen in American cities too.