Crime - Sacto 911

Jury acquits man of attempted murder in struggle with Sacramento officer in January

See bodycam footage from the attempted homicide of a Sacramento police officer

This bodycam footage shows the attempted homicide of a Sacramento police officer on Jan. 6, 2019
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This bodycam footage shows the attempted homicide of a Sacramento police officer on Jan. 6, 2019

A Sacramento jury has acquitted Artavious DeYoung Coleman of attempted murder in a January struggle with a Sacramento police officer in Upper Land Park, Coleman’s attorney said Wednesday.

Coleman was found guilty of additional charges of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, felony resisting arrest and weapons allegations. The case centered on an officer’s body camera that fell from his uniform and failed to capture the tense struggle between the lone officer and Coleman.

Coleman, 33, remains in Sacramento County sheriff’s custody pending an Aug. 30 sentencing date in Sacramento Superior Court.

Sacramento police said an armed Coleman led the officer on a slow-speed chase through neighborhoods and through a Seavey Circle apartment complex after Coleman refused to stop when the officer pulled him over for expired registration tags.

Coleman was on federal probation and had an arrest warrant out of Texas for failing to register as a sex offender, Sacramento County prosecutors said. He also has a 2010 attempted rape conviction out of Oregon, said prosecutors.

In the days after the Jan. 6 incident, police released body camera footage that showed the moments leading to Coleman’s arrest.

Those moments captured on video would later lay out Sacramento County prosecutors’ case for an attempted murder charge.

It was just after 2 a.m. The officer gave chase, but lost sight of him in the dark. The officer drew his weapon as he continued to search for Coleman using a flashlight.

At one point, the officer pointed his gun at Coleman and he continued to flee, the video showed.

But during the chase the officer’s body camera fell off his uniform, failing to capture the struggle between the officer and Coleman.

As the body camera pointed skyward, a clicking sound could be heard on the video just before Coleman spoke.

“I’m going to shoot your a--,” police say Coleman said in the video.

Police said the click was the sound of the .38-caliber Lorcin that Coleman tried to fire at the officer. Police said the gun was fully loaded but that a bullet was not in the chamber.

Coleman’s defense attorney, Sacramento County Assistant Public Defender Guy Danilowitz, cited the same video. He argued that Coleman did not attempt to fire at the officer and argued the clicking sound heard on video was likely the sound of the officer’s Taser as it was deployed.

In Danilowitz’s account, Coleman pushed the officer off him before the officer used his Taser. Coleman yelled for the officer to get off him before saying, “I wanna shoot your a --, I wanna shoot you right now.’”

The officer used the Taser, then jumped on Coleman, according to Danilowitz’s account. The officer didn’t see a gun but felt one in Coleman’s hand and pinned it to Coleman’s side before Coleman was ultimately arrested, Danilowitz said.

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Darrell Smith covers courts and California news for The Sacramento Bee. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.
Molly Sullivan covers crime, breaking news and police accountability for The Bee. She grew up in Northern California and is an alumna of Chico State.
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