A deputy public defender is being investigated after a tangle with a police officer while the officer arrested one of the attorney’s clients.
Police and sheriff’s reports released Monday allege deputy public defender Chuck Sheroke lunged at Coeur d’Alene police officer Pete Atkins with a raised fist.
Atkins deflected Sheroke’s attempt to grab him, and other officers restrained the attorney, reports said.
Reports on the incident are “full of inaccuracies,” Sheroke said Monday. “The cop pushed me first.”
Sheroke, 49, has not been arrested or charged in connection with the incident. He refused to discuss specifics because of the ongoing investigation. Charges under investigation include battery on an officer, assault on an officer and resisting and obstructing.
Kootenai County sheriff’s Sgt. Jerry Wiedenhoff said he interviewed Sheroke on Monday and will forward the results of his investigation to the county prosecutor’s office today.
“I know Chuck, and in my opinion, he’s a fine attorney and a fine person,” said Public Defender John Adams. “I stand behind him.”
The alleged incident occurred Friday morning outside a temporary courtroom in the county’s administration building.
Atkins was trying to arrest Jerome Mattson on an outstanding warrant when the commotion began. Mattson was in court to face an aggravated assault charge.
Sheroke became angry when deputy Robert Gomez asked Mattson if he knew there was a warrant out for his arrest, the reports said.
Sheroke, who had represented Mattson in a preliminary hearing moments earlier, began yelling at his client not to answer any questions, the reports said.
Atkins told Sheroke if Mattson did not answer basic booking questions, it would prolong his time in jail. The attorney became increasingly agitated and said, “Don’t tell them anything,” the reports said.
Sheroke continued yelling, and Atkins turned to escort Mattson out of the building, according to the reports. The attorney responded by forcing his way through police detective Mike Wolf and Gomez to lunge at Atkins, officers said.
“I was trying to have contact with my client and they didn’t want me to,” Sheroke said. “That caused a problem.”
Atkins spun his right arm around and shoved Sheroke in the chest, police reports said. Wolf and bailiff Jennifer Quinn jumped between Atkins and Sheroke.
Gomez grabbed Sheroke and tried to restrain the attorney, who broke free and started at Atkins with a raised fist, according to the reports. The deputy grabbed Sheroke’s raised right arm and forced him against a wall, the reports said.
“There is no doubt in my mind (Sheroke) was going to throw a punch at Atkins,” Gomez told officers.
Sheroke pulled away from Gomez again and started after Atkins a third time, the reports said.
Deputy prosecutor Rick Baughman, who was in the courtroom and heard the commotion, finally was able to separate Sheroke from the officers.
Baughman pulled Sheroke inside a courtroom while the deputy public defender yelled, “You are all pigs. All of you are pigs,” the sheriff’s report said.
“It’s being blown out of proportion,” Sheroke said.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: NO CHARGES Chuck Sheroke has not been arrested or charged in connection with the incident.
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