Crime

Charges dropped against man accused of trying to shoot officer

MARSHALL, Mo. - The Saline County Prosecutor has dropped a number of charges against a man who had been accused of pointing a gun at a police officer's head.

Carl Roettgen had faced numerous charges of assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, unlawful possession of a gun, and resisting arrest. In court Monday, he pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and was sentenced to four years behind bars; all other charges were dismissed.

The charges stemmed from an incident in which police tried to arrest Roettgen in May 2015. At the time, police had said Roettgen got away after pointing a gun at an officer's head and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn't go off. Roettgen then left the scene, and was caught in Alabama a couple of weeks later.

 In a news release sent out Monday, prosecutor Donald Stouffer said video of the incident he reviewed as he prepared for trial didn't match up with written statements from the police officers involved. Based on the discrepancies, Stouffer said he determined jurors wouldn't be able to find the officers' accounts credible.

Stouffer then met with a commanding officer at the Marshall Police Department, who said the officers' statements were "questionable at best." The commander then told Stouffer one of the officers involved had said as recently as this summer he didn't see a gun.

According to the commander, when the officer was reminded he had signed a statement about seeing a gun, the officer then stated he must have seen it then. Despite this discrepancy, Stouffer said, the commander told him no disciplinary action was taken in order to avoid affecting the outcome of the case.

Stouffer further says he has written to the Marshall police chief to say he won't file any cases in the future in which either of the officers from the Roettgen incident are involved:

"It is inconceivable that there is an apparent belief among some members of the command staff that the outcome of a criminal case is more important than taking action to prevent Marshall police officers from presenting testimony, under oath, that is 'questionable at best' and suborning perjury at worst.

"With the aid of my staff, I plan to initiate a review of other cases to determine if either officer was a key witness, and when necessary, I will request the assistance of outside agencies...The conduct of these two officers, and the apparent willingness of some members of the command staff to look the other way, will cause irreparable damage to every honest cop in Saline County."


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