September 5, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 35

Conviction in cop fight at local bar

A jury convicted a Haines man Friday of three charges stemming from a July 2012 fight with three Haines Borough police officers at a downtown bar. Randy Jackson, 53, was found guilty of fourth-degree assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.        

Jackson’s first trial in May ended in a hung jury.

According to court documents, officers Adam Patterson, Josh Knore and Jason Rettinger entered a downtown bar at 2:40 a.m. to perform a routine check during fair weekend. Jackson approached the officers and started cursing at them and making “obscene gestures.”

When the officers twice told him to step back, Jackson attempted to head-butt Patterson, but was stopped by Knore. The officers then put Jackson against the bar and handcuffed him, though he made multiple attempts to pull away, strike, and kick the officers.

While Patterson went to get his patrol vehicle, Jackson kicked Knore in the groin.

During the trial, defense attorney Campbell Jackson argued officers were “violent and aggressive” with Jackson when they arrested him, and that the “phantom head-butt” never occurred.

Attorney Jackson also argued that Patterson, who had just finished police training, and Knore, who was still completing training, were inexperienced and handled the situation poorly.

When Randy Jackson verbally antagonized the officers, “they exploded on him,” Campbell Jackson said. “This was not benevolent, careful policing. This was a temper tantrum.”

The attorney also pointed to differing accounts given by witnesses and officers as reasons to acquit his client.

In an interview Tuesday, Randy Jackson said Patterson and Knore got mad at him for making a comment about the two attending the police academy in Fairbanks instead of the one in Sitka.

“I was questioning how they got their training and how they were applying it doing bar checks. They were looking up the patrons, obviously sizing up the crowd... They were new guys, and I asked Jason Rettinger why they continued to hire these kind of guys,” Jackson said.

Aside from using “salty, foul language” and being intoxicated, which aren’t crimes, Jackson said he wasn’t behaving out of turn. “I believe I didn’t do anything wrong. I think it is hugely unfortunate that the community has seen this go on with our police department over so many years. People would say things about the department and I didn’t believe it and then it was happening to me.. It’s never so bad until it happens to you.”

“Anyone else would have been charged with perjury for what (the officers) said on the stand,” he added.

Jackson said the jury’s limited deliberation – court records show it was about two hours – point to a rushed decision.

“The jury didn’t take any time to listen to the evidence... A reasonable jury would not have found me guilty that quickly,” he said.

Jackson said he is discussing his options for appeal with his attorney.

Interim police chief Simon Ford said he was “pleased” by the guilty verdicts on all three counts because “it shows the public you can’t abuse police officers and have no consequences.”

Ford said Jackson does not have a pattern of problems with the police and has a reputation in the community for being generous and hardworking. “He seems like a pretty good guy who likes to help people. He just had too much to drink,” Ford said.

Jackson’s sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 17.