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July 28, 2015

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Brooks arrested in California after police chase

Police use dog, Taser to subdue former Nevada assemblyman

Image

Jennifer Simpson / AP

Ex-Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks, middle right, who led police on a chase from Barstow, Calif., until his tires were spiked in Victorville, Calif., is apprehended by police, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Victorville, Calif. Brooks was arrested on charges including resisting arrest and throwing objects, just hours after he became the first lawmaker ever expelled from the Nevada Legislature.

Updated Friday, March 29, 2013 | 2:52 p.m.

AP video on Brooks' arrest

Calif. officials talks about the arrest

Brooks arrested in California

Ex-Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks, holds his arms up as he is arrested, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Victorville, Calif. Brooks led police on a chase from Barstow, Calif., until his tires were spiked in Victorville, Calif. Brooks was arrested on charges including resisting arrest and throwing objects, just hours after he became the first lawmaker ever expelled from the Nevada Legislature. Launch slideshow »

Warning: This video, which apparently shows the arrest of former Assemblyman Steven Brooks, contains offensive language.

Assemblyman Steven Brooks - Feb. 7, 2013

Assemblyman Steven Brooks hugs Assemblyman Pat Hickey before a meeting Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 during the 2013 legislative session in Carson City. Launch slideshow »

On the night he was expelled from the Nevada Legislature, former Assemblyman Steven Brooks was arrested after leading police on a chase near Barstow, Calif., and being brought down by a Taser and police dog.

According to a Barstow Police Department statement, officers responded to a call at 6:11 p.m. of an argument between a tow truck driver and a motorist.

When officers arrived, they identified Brooks as the motorist, police said. The tow truck driver claimed Brooks, who had a flat tire, was attempting to scam him, because he reportedly refused to provide identification or a form of payment to the tow truck driver, police said.

Brooks walked away from an officer who was questioning him and headed for his vehicle, despite the officer’s orders to stop, police said. Brooks got into the vehicle and sped off on the damaged tire, police said.

Officers pursued Brooks south on Interstate 15 as he weaved in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed, with sparks and smoke coming from the flat tire, according to the police statement.

During the chase, Brooks threw a "number of metal objects" out of his window, police said. Citing CHP officials, the Victorville Daily Press reported that one of the objects was a handgun.

CHP and the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office were contacted for support, and troopers used a spike strip to disable the vehicle and stop it just north of Stoddard Wells Road on I-15.

“Eventually, Brooks exited his vehicle but was acting irrational and was still refusing to comply with officers’ orders,” the Barstow Police statement said.

A Barstow Police officer deployed a police dog to apprehend Brooks, who ran back into his car, police said. The dog jumped through the back window of the car and “began to subdue” Brooks, police said. Brooks choked the dog and hit it with a socket wrench, causing lacerations above the animal’s eye and on its leg.

Officers then pulled Brooks out of the vehicle, using a Taser to subdue him, police said.

Medics responded and tended to Brooks’ injuries. He was transported to Barstow Community Hospital for an exam before being booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

The police dog was treated by a veterinarian for his injuries and was released.

Brooks was arrested on counts of eluding law enforcement while driving recklessly, resisting or impeding a law enforcement officer, throwing objects at a vehicle with the intent to do harm and injuring or attempting to injure a dog or horse used by law enforcement, according to San Bernardino County online inmate records.

He was being held on $100,000 bail. An initial court appearance was set for Tuesday in Barstow Superior Court, records show.

Reached by phone, the Barstow Police Department declined Friday to release Brooks’ booking photo and would not make any officers available for comment or provide additional details not contained in the department’s news release.

Brooks' attorney, Mitchell Posin, said he had no details about the arrest or about why Brooks was on the interstate in Barstow.

"We had started to discuss possible next steps," Posin said Friday, referring to his client's expulsion from the Legislature. "Next thing I know, I heard about this."

A witness, 30-year-old Jennifer Simpson, said she was alerted by police helicopters overhead and saw a red four-door SUV hit what appeared to be spike strips on the freeway and veer to the side of the road.

The driver got out of the vehicle but didn't follow police commands to turn around and put his hands in the air, said Simpson, who lives in an apartment near the interstate in Victorville. The man ran back toward the SUV, chased by a police dog, she said.

Simpson said the driver shut himself in the vehicle before several officers with guns drawn pulled him out. She said she saw at least one officer punch the man several times.

Simpson's husband videotaped the last four minutes of the struggle, in which uniformed officers wrestle the driver to the ground in front of the vehicle and an officer in a tan uniform raises his arms three times in apparent punching motions. The man cannot be seen on the ground.

In another video posted to YouTube, CHP Sergeant Chris Dalin is interviewed about the incident, and Brooks can be seen on a stretcher talking with police.

“Initially he got out of the vehicle and was somewhat cooperative, but then he refused to obey commands,” Dalin said of Brooks.

When the Barstow Police Department released its dog, Brooks was able to get back into his car. A CHP officer then shot out the back window of the SUV with a beanbag shotgun.

Dalin said Brooks resisted while officers tried to put handcuffs on him and started to break away when the Taser was applied.

“It was successful. Down he went to the ground. After a short struggle he was placed in handcuffs,” Dalin says in the video.

Kris Reilly, city editor of The Daily Press in Victorville, said he heard police scanner reports of the chase and arrived at the scene with a photographer to see a man in dark clothing on a hospital gurney. He said the man was struggling against wrist and ankle restraints as he was loaded into an ambulance.

"He was yelling something to the effect that, 'These cops are going down!'" Reilly said. "He was yelling quite a bit."

The police account released Friday doesn't address whether any officers punched Brooks.

The Nevada Assembly voted Thursday morning to oust Brooks, after Assembly Majority Leader William Horne called him "potentially dangerous" and said lawmakers didn't feel safe with him in the building.

"This really saddens me," Horne said Friday, after learning of the arrest. "I hope they get Steven the help he clearly needs before he or someone else is hurt or worse."

This is the third time the North Las Vegas Democrat has been arrested since January. He's accused of making threats toward his colleagues, including Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.

Brooks also was denied the purchase of a gun in Sparks last month after he was banished from the chambers. Posin said there's been a misunderstanding and Brooks doesn't pose any real threat to anyone.

Brooks won re-election in November by a 2-1 margin over an unknown challenger.

Horne said Thursday that Brooks' unpredictable behavior — which included missing meetings, calling news conferences he never showed up for and posing shirtless for a Las Vegas newspaper — had made the session look "more like a circus and daytime drama than a serious legislative body."

It was the first time the Legislature initiated the expulsion of a member since a lawmaker was accused of libeling other members in 1867, although that case never came to a formal vote.

Sun reporter Anjeanette Damon and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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