Anchorage police officer charged with assault pleads not guilty

Published: Nov. 16, 2019 at 10:50 AM AKST
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Anchorage Police officer Cornelius Pettus appeared in an Anchorage courtroom Friday where he was formally charged with two counts of 4th degree assault in connection to the alleged use of force against a bicyclist on Sept. 30.

Pettus remained silent during his arraignment Friday.

He's accused of attacking bicyclist Samuel Allen on Sept. 30 after what reportedly started as a bicycle safety stop.

Allen was recording video of the encounter as it escalated.

Court documents say Allen used profanity toward officers before Pettus allegedly punched Allen in the jaw, kicked him in the groin, and possibly sprayed him with mace.

After the hearing, Allen spoke with members of the media and denied provoking the incident.

"If you call asserting your rights as provoking people, I mean, you can interpret that way if you want," Allen said. "But there are First Amendment rights to film in public spaces, to film your government officials, to film police."

Pettus remains out on bail on the misdemeanor charges. He is currently on administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation.

Through his attorney, Pettus declined to comment about the case.

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