Unruly man alleged to have thrown punch, spit on Basalt officers
A Roaring Fork Valley man was arrested Sunday afternoon after he allegedly cursed at a police officer who was passing by on a patrol bicycle, prompting the cop to run his name through dispatch and learn he was wanted in Mesa County.
At a hearing Tuesday, Pitkin County District Judge Chris Seldin set bond at $7,500 for Aichardo Mandez, 50, who stands accused of resisting arrest, trying to punch one of the arresting officers and spitting on another officer.
Mandez suggested to Seldin that alcohol is the source of his problems; his criminal record goes back to January 1997 when he was arrested for vehicle theft in Glenwood Springs, according to records from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
“I need an opportunity to be released so I can work in a full-time job,” he told the judge through an Spanish-to-English translator who was on speakerphone. “I am an alcoholic and I want to change, to keep working and to stop drinking.”
Mandez came under the suspicion of Basalt police Officer Aaron Munch, who wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit that while he was on bicycle patrol on Two Rivers Road, Mandez looked at him and yelled a Spanish curse word. Mandez was walking at the time — shortly after 2 p.m. — on a sidewalk and carrying two fishing poles in his backpack.
“I know this word in Spanish to be derogatory,” Munch wrote in the affidavit.
Having had previous contacts with Mandez, Munch wrote that he asked dispatch to run his name, revealing that he was wanted in Mesa County.
Munch then approached Mandez, in the area near the 7-Eleven convenience store, asking him to stop. Mandez denied having done anything wrong, and when Munch noticed he had a folding knife attached to his belt, the officer drew his stun gun. Again, Mandez denied any wrongdoing while yelling and cursing at Munch.
When supporting Officer Jordan Hilkey arrived, Mandez approached both police and refused their commands to face away, the affidavit says.
Shortly later, Mandez poised to throw a punch, but Munch applied an arm bar and brought him to the ground, the affidavit alleges.
Mandez allegedly tried to pull away and continued to resist when the officers brought him to a patrol vehicle.
He repeatedly yelled “b—-” at Hilkey, and after he was placed in the backseat of the police car, he spit on her shirt, the affidavit alleges.
Police recovered a half-pint of Black Velvet whiskey from Mandez’s backpack. About one-third of it was gone, the affidavit said.
During the hearing, prosecutor Don Nottingham said he was unsure what the Mesa County arrest warrant for Mandez concerned. CBI records say that he was last arrested in Mesa County in March 2016 on a warrant out of Garfield County. He also has been charged in various jurisdictions on the Western Slope for crimes such as drug possession, driving under the influence, open-container violations, burglary, trespassing and other transgressions.
As for this weekend’s alleged incident, Mandez faces a Class 4 felony charge of second-degree assault, a Class 5 felony count of attempted second-degree assault, a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest and violation of a bond condition out of Mesa County for drinking alcohol.
Mandez is due back in Pitkin County District Court on June 4.