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Criminal Justice

Attorney pulls into ditch during traffic stop, is arrested after altercation over tow truck

Posted Jun 26, 2014 12:25 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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June 12 was not a good day for Vermont lawyer Peter Martin.

Pulled over on a curve by a St. Albans police officer for having tinted windows on his Cadillac sedan (its license plate says SOSUMI), he drove into a roadside ditch as he attempted to get back into the traffic lane after being cited, according to the Burlington Free Press and WCAX.

The situation then deteriorates, as police cruiser dashcam video published by WCAX shows. The officer calls a tow truck, but Martin's auto club insurance card isn't honored. He refuses to pay out-of-pocket for the tow, and, according to court records, the tow driver starts to remove his vehicle for non-payment.

As the police officer repeatedly tells Martin to step back, the lawyer is not conciliatory. Martin can be heard on the video telling the officer "arrest me" a couple of times and "put the cuffs on right here."

News reports based on police and court records say Martin allegedly stepped on tow chains, "lunged" at the tow driver and grabbed the officer's Taser when he tried to bring Martin down.

At some point during the fray, the officer says, the 74-year-old attorney dropped a ".38 special handgun," according to the newspaper. Court records also show that Martin had a knife in his possession, reports the Free Press.

The officer feared for his life, he says in the affidavit, and he can be heard on the video telling Martin "Do you want to get Tased?" and "step away from the gun!"

The video appears to show that Martin may have made the first move toward the officer, who then shoves him down onto the roadway. An object that could be a gun is then picked up off the road by the officer and thrown onto the side of the road behind the lawyer's Cadillac.

As the video concludes, the attorney is walking away from the scene, bloodied, with his hands behind his back. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, to which he pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer, Peter Langrock, tells the Free Press that Martin's vehicle has tinted windows due to an eye condition. Martin needed stitches for a cut on his face and suffered an injured shoulder, Langrock says. He also noted that Martin has a heart condition.

Martin declined to comment when contacted by the station.

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