PENTICTON - A Penticton man was handed a conditional sentence today following an alcohol-fueled run in with a Penticton police officer last year.
Samuel Ricardo Espinoza-Gabriel, 19, entered a guilty plea to a charge of uttering threats to cause bodily harm in Penticton court today, Aug. 21, over an incident that occurred Sept. 29, 2016.
Crown prosecutor Nashina Devji told court Penticton RCMP were notified of a severely intoxicated individual in a Penticton park.
Upon arrival, police found a number of individuals in an area surrounded by beer cans and garbage.
Espinoza-Gabriel was seen urinating in public, swaying from side to side, showing signs of intoxication.
A constable approached Espinoza-Gabriel, who swore at the officer. He then said, “If I ever see you on the rez, I will shoot you in the head.”
Gabriel was arrested for being intoxicated in public, after which the confrontation became physical, escalating to the point where Espinoza-Gabriel took a swing at the officer, but missed. He continued yelling obscenities while struggling with the officer, who had his jacket torn in the confrontation.
Devji noted Espinoza-Gabriel’s lack of criminal history, telling Judge Gale Sinclair the young man had taken a number of steps to correct his behaviour since the incident and was now "involved in a situation where he has been forced to grow up and take responsibility.”
“He’s a good kid who had a bad night. He does not do well with alcohol,” she said, asking the judge for a suspended sentence with community service.
Legal advocate Laurie Wilson spoke on Espinoza-Gabriel’s behalf, as did a Penticton Indian Band elder, who spoke of his generally good character.
“What I did that night was totally wrong,” Espinoza-Gabriel told the court.
“As I said, it was probably too many of those Budweisers,” said Judge Sinclair, agreeing with Crown as he handed down a sentence of a conditional discharge.
Espinoza-Gabriel is not to use drugs or alcohol, and must also do 15 hours community work service.
After sentencing, Wilson said she hoped the officer involved in the altercation would be able to participate in Espinoza-Gabriel’s sentencing circle, noting there were several disagreements in the stories presented by Crown and the accused.
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