City man’s resisting arrest case ends with $25 fine
A contentious case in which an Altoona man claimed he was roughed up by police for no reason has come to an end after 32 months with him pleading guilty to resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, and disorderly conduct, a summary offense and paying a $25 fine.
Additional charges of resisting arrest and public drunkenness were dismissed against Sean Anthony Hudson, 35, court records show.
Hudson was arrested by several Altoona police officers during the early morning of Oct. 2, 2010, when they responded to an alleged domestic argument. Police were told that a man had a gun while in the alley near Sixth Avenue and Fourth Street.
Two officers arrived with their guns drawn to find Hudson standing outside his car while two women with him, one inside the car and the other outside, were arguing with each other. No weapons were involved.
As other officers arrived, the three were told to show their hands. Hudson said he put his hands on his car.
What occurred next has been the subject of debate. Police said Hudson lowered his arms twice as he followed an order to come around his vehicle and approached them.
Police said they told Hudson to get down on the ground and warned him if he didn’t, he would be pepper sprayed.
Hudson did not get on the ground, and he said police acted improperly when they used pepper spray and threw him to the pavement, injuring his legs and eyes.
In September 2011, Blair County Judge Hiram Carpenter dismissed the charges against Hudson, contending police found no gun when they arrived and Hudson’s actions did not require police to use “substantial force to overcome resistance.”
In May 2012, the Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a request by Blair County Assistant District Attorney Russell Montgomery to reinstate the charges, concluding police were justified in their actions.
The case was put back on track for trial in Blair County.
In May, Hudson and his attorney, Joel Seeyle, asked that charges again be dismissed because police could not find a dashboard video of the confrontation. In a pretrial hearing before Judge Elizabeth Doyle, officers testified that the video of the Hudson incident had been overwritten.
The defense had to show police in “bad faith” destroyed the tape to support dropping the charges, and she concluded it could not prove that.
She said officers were not sure how to use the dashboard video, and the judge said, “Certainly police training must be improved so that this is no longer the case.”
She said the officers, however, did not deliberately destroy the tape or act in bad faith.
A plea agreement was reached this week when the case came up for court review.
Seeyle said Hudson decided to enter the pleas because it was time to move on with his life.
Montgomery said the prosecution agreed to a plea bargain because Hudson has been on bail for more than two years and has not gotten into further trouble.
This might not be Hudson’s last appearance in a courtroom. Seeyle said Hudson intends to go to law school.
Hudson confirmed Thursday that he had been accepted by several law schools, but he said he has not yet made a choice of where he will go in the fall.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.