Chicago man won’t be charged with assault on Aspen police officer
ASPEN – A Chicago man will not be charged with assault on a police officer stemming from a Dec. 30 incident at the Gondola Plaza in downtown Aspen, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin said the evidence he reviewed did not rise to the level of filing the class-three felony charge against Witold K. Zajac. He would have faced a mandatory four years in the Department of Corrections if convicted.
“After reading the reports I felt the case would best be handled in county court” where misdemeanors are processed, Mordkin said. Felonies are handled in Pitkin County District Court, which is primarily Mordkin’s domain.
Zajac, 31, still faces less severe charges. Tuesday afternoon, Pitkin County Deputy District Attorney Richard Nedlin filed two misdemeanor counts against him – resisting arrest and menacing.
He was arrested in the early evening hours of Dec. 30 after law enforcement officials reported to the base of Aspen Mountain for a complaint of criminal mischief in one of the buckets on the Silver Queen Gondola. When deputies arrived, Zajac already had paid $200 to the Aspen Skiing Co. for the damage he administered on a gondola car in which he had been riding, officials said.
With the civil matter apparently settled, the matter erupted into a criminal case when sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Gray and Aspen Police Officer Dave Rosselot arrived on the scene, according to an arrest narrative report by Gray.
“When [Rosselot] and I stepped between Witold [Zajac] … he began yelling at his wife, [and] Witold said, ‘I’ll shoot you’ and then ‘I’ll f—ing kill you.’ I placed Witold under arrest. Witold resisted while being handcuffed as well as when he was transported to a patrol car,” the report says. “While restraining Witold in a patrol car, he headbutted me.”
Mordkin said the facts are unclear as to whether Witold actually headbutted the deputy.
“You want to make sure all of the elements of a criminal offense are there before you file a charge like” felony assault on a police officer, Mordkin said.
As a condition of his bond, which he posted on Dec. 31, a mandatory protection order is in place that prohibits Zajac from having any type of contact with Gray.
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