Charges dropped against Zah

By CIndy Yurth
Tséyi’ Bureau

CHINLE, Dec. 6, 2013

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A charge of failing to obey the order of a police officer against President Ben Shelly’s former spokesman, Erny Zah, was dropped this week upon the request of Navajo Nation Prosecutor Bernadine Martin, Martin confirmed Friday.

In an email to the Times, Martin said she requested the dismissal “in the interest of justice."

Zah had pleaded not guilty to the Nov. 15 charge, which he described as a misunderstanding. However, it led to his resignation effective last Friday.

Zah was arrested just after midnight on Nov. 15 in the parking lot of the Navajo Nation President’s office, where he was sitting in his parked car reading email on his cell phone after being dropped off from a meeting at Twin Arrows.

According to Zah, a police officer approached him and asked him for his driver’s license, which he was unable to find in his glove compartment. The officer asked him to get out of the car and sit on the bumper, but Zah did not want to sit on the bumper of his brand new car and asked the officer if he could sit on the ground instead, he said.

Zah said the police officer agreed, but after Zah had passed a field sobriety test, the officer handcuffed him and charged him with disobedience. Zah ended up spending the night in the Window Rock jail and having his car impounded.

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