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Charges dropped against Graton man in viral arrest video

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A Sonoma County judge has dismissed the criminal case against Jason Anglero-Wyrick, 35, of Graton, who had been subdued by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s K9 dog and deputy and stunned with a Taser during a confrontation when he was arrested outside his home April 4.

On Tuesday, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office moved in a court hearing to drop all charges against Anglero-Wyrick connected with the incident, citing a lack of sufficient evidence. The charges included: two felony counts for resisting arrest by means of threats and violence; two misdemeanors for resisting arrest and battery of a police officer; and two enhancements for having a prior felony conviction for a serious crime and committing an offense while on bail, said Brian Staebell, chief deputy district attorney.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert LaForge accepted the prosecutor’s decision and dismissed the case against the defendant.

Staebell said his office decided to drop the charges after continuing to investigate the April incident, which went viral after videos of the confrontation from a witness’s cellphone and deputies’ body-worn cameras were posted online.

“We believed that we simply did not have sufficient evidence to prove these charges beyond a reasonable doubt at trial,” the prosecutor said.

The hearing on Tuesday was Anglero-Wyrick’s first appearance in court related to the April 4 arrest outside his home. Both Anglero-Wyrick and his attorney, George Boisseau, declined to comment outside the courtroom after the judge dismissed the case.

Members of Anglero- Wyrick’s family were among a couple of dozen supporters gathered outside the courthouse on Tuesday. They had to remain in the parking lot during the court hearing due to orders barring members of the public without official business from entering the courthouse because of the coronavirus risk in the community.

His mother, Diana Anglero, was among the supporters wearing face coverings and gloves and holding handmade signs. She commended the District Attorney’s Office for its decision to drop the charges against her son.

“I want to thank them for listening and doing the right thing,” she said.

The Sheriff’s Office has an ongoing internal affairs investigation, which is common whenever a deputy uses force on another person, into the incident involving Anglero-Wyrick’s April arrest. On Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office did not reply to multiple requests for comment on the status of the internal affairs probe and reaction to the judge’s dismissal of all charges connected with the arrest.

Previously, the Sheriff’s Office said the confrontation began when deputies responded to a report from a Forestville man who said Anglero-Wyrick allegedly had pointed a gun at him and his wife and had threatened to break into their home.

Less than a minute after making contact with Anglero-Wyrick at his home, deputies used a stun gun and then deployed a K9 dog, named Vader, on him. The dog latched on to Anglero-Wyrick’s leg for about a minute after he was handcuffed, and it appeared from the videos, the handler struggled to get the dog to let go of the man’s leg.

The enhancements dismissed by the judge involved accusations that Anglero-Wyrick committed a crime in April while on bail, which stemmed from an ongoing and separate investigation by the Santa Rosa police that found in August 2019 he was allegedly in possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine and an assault weapon, Staebell said.

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