Woman gets deferred sentence for cop assault

Thursday, September 8, 2022
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A Hardin woman will spend three years on probation and pay a $1,000 fine for assaulting a Columbus police officer during a traffic stop in November 2021.

Sarah Ashlee Reaves, 40, appeared in 22nd Judicial Court last Thursday and received a 3-year deferred sentence for one felony count of assault on a peace officer. She had previously admitted to hitting, kicking and grabbing the officer’s genitals. If she abides by all 31 of the court-ordered conditions, the felony can be removed from her record in three years.

Because she did not seriously injure the officer, she will not have to serve the mandatory minimum jail sentence set forth by state law.

As part of a plea agreement, the Stillwater County Attorney’s Office dropped a second felony count of assault on a peace officer involving a sheriff’s deputy and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer. Deputy Stillwater County Attorney Ryan Addis previously explained to the News why those charges were dropped.

“The second assault charge was not as solid as the first assault charge because it arguably occurred during the course of Reaves actively obstructing and resisting arrest (which were charged as Counts III & IV),” said Addis.

Judge Matt Wald called the jointly recommended sentence a “very lenient resolution for the underlying events.”

In the end, Wald agreed to the sentence recommendation, noting Reaves did not have a prior felony conviction, which under state law, qualifies her for a deferred sentence. Wald also said it provided accountability, structure, the chance for Reaves to clear her record and options for the court should problems arise.

Reaves said she was sorry for assaulting the officer, and also apologized to the court and her family. Her attorney said that Reaves has addiction and mental health issues.

THE CASE

According to court documents, on Nov. 5, 2021, A Columbus police officer made a traffic stop in town after watching Reaves run a stop sign and drive down Ninth Street at a high rate of speed, according to court documents.

When the officer told Reaves the reason for the stop, she responded, “Oh I’m sorry for that,” according to court documents.

When he asked her why she was in such a hurry, Reaves got out of her car and the officer instructed her to get back in, to which she said “Go ----yourself,” and tried to hit the officer with her right hand, but was unsuccessful due to her open door, according to court documents.

The officer grabbed her arm to gain control of Reaves and when he tried to grab her other arm, she shouted “I threw my keys at you, you stupid ----,” according to court documents.

The officer got her handcuffed and walked her to the front of his patrol car. Reaves lifted herself off of the patrol car hood and began pushing back against the officer.

A short time later, Reaves was able to slip out of one of the handcuffs and tried to hit the officer a second time, according to court documents. When the officer told her to stop, Reaves made a third attempt to strike him.

The officer then put Reaves on the ground to try and gain control of her, at which point she grabbed his genitals, “causing significant pain,” according to court documents.

“(The officer) responded with three distraction strikes with his left hand to the defendant’s nose and forehead. The first strike caused the defendant to release his genitals and move her arm and hand to under his duty belt, approximately two to three inches from (the officer) firearm and directly above his pocketknife.

The second and third strikes caused the Defendant to let go of (the officer’s) duty belt, and he was able to get her in handcuffs again,” according to court documents.

Reaves continued to yell profanities at the officer and continued making personal and vulgar comments to him.

A Stillwater County Sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene to assist and was also assaulted by Reaves, who had slipped her handcuffs again and she tried to slam the patrol car door on him, according to court documents.

Reaves also kicked the police officer in the center of his chest as he was assisting medical crews get her on a gurney, causing him to fall backwards and almost out of the ambulance. Once at the hospital, Reaves kicked the deputy in the stomach.

By the time the police officer delivered Reaves to the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, he had suffered cuts to hands, one elbow, one shoulder and both of his knees, according to court documents.