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Man pleads guilty in officer assault


A Toadlena, New Mexico man pled guilty Monday in federal district court here for assaulting a Navajo policeman.

Larry Lee Emerson Jr., 36, was arrested in connection with an incident that occurred on July 6 in Shiprock after Navajo police officers found him in a vehicle parked near a trailer home just south of the 4 Corners Automotive Shop.

According to Navajo police, he was sitting in a rear passenger seat and when he saw the police officers, he became upset at seeing one of the officers, saying, “If it wasn’t for that badge, I’ll kick your ass. Come to my house without that badge and I’ll fight you.”

He reportedly refused to allow himself to be handcuffed and told the officers that he was recording the incident with his cell phone. The officer then noticed that there was a small child also inside the vehicle and had a female standing nearby remove the child.

Emerson again was told to put his hands behind him so he could be handcuffed. Instead of cooperating, he clenched his hands in a fist and raised them toward the officer he had yelled at before.

The officer grabbed his wrist as Emerson reportedly attempted to punch him in the face. The officer was able to pull away from the first punch but after the officers sprayed him with pepper spray, Emerson succeeded with the second, punching him in the face and breaking his prescription glasses.

During the fight, according to his arrest report, Emerson was also able to bite the officer several times on his arms, face and head and tried to pull the officer’s police uniform over his head to further incapacitate him. In doing so, he ripped the officer’s uniform.

Fearing for his safety as well as the safety of the other officers at the scene, the police officer retreated, allowing Emerson to lock himself in the vehicle.

The officer then attended to his injuries. Emerson managed to jump out of the vehicle and escape. He was arrested a month later by Navajo police and turned over to the FBI for assaulting a federal officer (Navajo police are also commissioned as special law enforcement officers with the Bureau of Indian Affairs).

He has been in custody since his arrest. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

No sentencing date has been named.

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About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.


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