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3/11/2011 6:01:00 AM
Mervin Fried, of Kingman, acquitted in pitchfork trespass case
PAUL FRANKFURTER/CourtesyCounty Manager Ron Walker (left) and Mervin Fried discuss whether or not a pitchfork will be allowed in the County Administration Building.

County Manager Ron Walker (left) and Mervin Fried discuss whether or not a pitchfork will be allowed in the County Administration Building.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A Kingman man has been acquitted of trespassing charges more than a year after he attempted to bring a pitchfork into the county administration building. Judge Pro-tempore Paul Julien ruled March 5 that Mervin Fried was not guilty of third-degree trespassing.

Fried was arrested for attempting to bring a pitchfork into the building on Feb. 16, 2010, after a protest outside of the county administration building. He was stopped at the door by County Manager Ron Walker, who asked him to leave the pitchfork outside. Fried was arrested when he refused and tried to enter the building with the pitchfork.

In court, Walker testified that he had the authority to control access to the building and submitted copies of several county rules that allegedly gave him that right. He said he allowed residents carrying guns to enter the building because the county had not adopted the ordinance that would restrict guns from the county building and did not have gun lockers to store the guns yet.

Walker said when he stopped Fried at the door and asked him to leave the pitchfork outside, Fried asked "Why?" He testified that based on that response he didn't know what Fried might do and decided that he might be a threat.

In court documents, Walker "agreed that a pitchfork is a less dangerous weapon than a handgun depending on 'what they did with it.'" Walker said he was concerned about the county's liability under the Second Amendment if he prohibited people carrying guns from entering the building.

Fried testified he ignored Walker's request because he didn't think there was any law prohibiting him from entering the building with a pitchfork.

In his ruling, Julien found that Walker did have the authority to restrict access to the building. However, Walker's "decision to allow members of the public with holstered handguns access to the building but deny access to the defendant because he had a 'holstered' pitchfork was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable," Julien wrote.

Without addressing Fried's claims of violations of his First Amendment rights to free speech, Julien found him not guilty of trespassing.

"I'm glad this is resolved," Fried said.

"Mr. Fried has had his day in court. And he was acquitted," the county's official statement on the matter read.

Fried said he plans to pursue claims against the county for violating his First and Second Amendment rights for arresting him after the protest.

He said that the Second Amendment does not specifically state that "arms" only apply to firearms. He also claims that his bail was unreasonable, that the failure to include his case on the court docket was deliberate, that Walker tried to get him fired by calling his boss, and the county deliberately edited him out of video of county Board meetings.

He also plans to follow up on a notice of claim he filed with the county last month. A notice of claim is a document that warns the county that a person feels that the county has discriminated against them in some way and will file a lawsuit unless the situation is fixed.

In his notice, Fried claimed that the county injured his First Amendment rights when it denied him his right as an elected Republican precinct committeeman to use the a meeting room in the county administration building to meet with his constituents in December based on the "political intent" of his request. Fried points to a policy the county approved in March that states that while politicking is prohibited on county grounds, elected officials are allowed to use the building to meet, update and discuss issues with their constituents. Fried claims that as a Republican precinct committeeman, he is an elected county official.

He also claims that county officials' actions have caused him "emotional distress, suppression of his First Amendment rights, and the loss of the ability to communicate effectively with his constituents in a manner equal to that of any other elected or duly appointed official." He is claiming $501,000 in damages.

What effect the case will have on the Monday arrest of Golden Valley resident Jim Kanelos for trespassing is unknown. Kanelos was released Monday afternoon.

ICT - Trotters RV
Related Stories:
• Mohave officials: Hats at meetings okay; we'll get back to you on guns
• Judge nixes new hearing on Kingman man's obscene T-shirt
• Fried's pitch: Just say 'No'
• Photo: Fried, Pitchfork Reunited
• Fried seeks dismissal of trespassing charge
• Fried puts county on notice
• Fried questions bond amount
• 1 arrested in protest of county's 'policy'

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: kidding? none

It was a pitch fork! Geez - lucky the guy didn't have his jammies on! (see citizen arrested for---)

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Ronald Reagan Would Be Proud

Was there ever any doubt? Walker was out of line and should have been fired then, but no the BOS just stand by and let this [person] continue to destroy our county. When does the tyranny and corruption end? What will it take for the citizens of this county to see what Sockwell, Johnson and Watson have done and continue to do to our freedoms and our rights? It is high time the people of the county woke up and took a stand against this criminal element among us. Call your state reps and senator to get them to take action. If you are registered republican call the party and tell them you are changing to independent, or libertarian. The big political parties care nothing for the people, only their individual party and getting some idiot elected! It's time to make a change, or else!!

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Gabby B

I was there when strong arm Deputy Gunnoe threw Fried up against the wall and yanked off the pitchfork from his shoulder.
There is also a case for brutality as far as I'm concerned. The Sheriff should take note that Deputy Gunnoe uses strong arm tactics on many law abiding citizens.... maybe he should be sued too.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Now What

Now that Mervin was acquitted, proving Walker was in the wrong, what will the BOS do to punish or reprimand Walker for his actions? Nothing I assume.
Had I made such a blunder at my place of employment, my boss would surely fire me.
I know, I know, they're all in it together, but it just makes me wonder how long this will go on.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Gabby B

It took them long enough to find out he didn't do anything wrong!
What do you think about that guru Walker and the dirty BOS's?

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: cut the crap

let's get one thing perfectly clear - all allegations against Mervin and Mr. Kanelos regarding trespassing are a sick joke in light of "law enforcement" illegally entering citizens' private property for the purposes of intimidation and retribution against speaking out about their bloated sense of entitlement, and crimes.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Nofreedom InMohave

So, when all this started, there were many people that put Mr. Fried down because of his actions with the pitchfork and were elated when he was arrested and finally putting him down because he was going to cost the county money in court fees. Now that the court has ruled in Mr. Fried's favor (which is no surprise to me), the question is, will those same people put Mr. Walker down for a bad decision against Mr. Fried and the money he has cost the taxpayers?. Another question is, what about the Mohave County political strong arm "Sheriff/Politician Sheahan"? he is a law enforcement officer (well, a politician with a badge anyway) and should have known if he had probable cause to make the arrest, he is not supposed to take his cues from Walker or anybody else in the county.

Now then, Mr Walker and the Sheriff's Department have been found by the courts to be in the wrong, so now the county will be sued and it will loose a lot of tax payer money because of the incompetent people in office that were voted in by incompetent voters, you people sure like spending money in this county for all the wrong things.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Quality of Life

The fine leaders of this county are making some truly historic decisions lately. At some point soon I expect a national news story about our local government gone wild. From wrongful arrests, to lawsuits, to unused buildings, to civil rights violations, to horrible roads, to police scandals, to politically connected land deals, and now new buildings we don't need being built anyway. If you are a friend of the county the money keeps flowing. The tax payers won't mind the raise. They will follow all our rules or else. We will make it so they can't even try to speak out without fear of the police. I have news for the leaders of our fine county, I have eyes and can see and others do too. I am not afraid and others too.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: The Watcher

It looks like the county has finally been proved wrong about their idiotic King Little Ronnie Eugene Walker’s Gestapo tactics. Maybe they will rethink his position/employment knowing now he is going to cost the county a lot of money for his policies.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Tripp ...

Really Walker... you called the guys boss! How old are you?

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: Flying Monkey

Yes !!! Finally...........justice swings in the right direction. Maybe this is the beginning of changes to come. NOT !! It's going to take an overhaul of the BOS and it's county clowns sitting on their thrones to make a difference.
"Mr." Walker............ whatever......I can't find the words to describe how I feel.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: az mac

Way to go Mervin
So they will keep arresting more people and cost the taxpayers even more money.
No where in the constitution that says the government has the right to tell people where and when they can protest. Every time a peaceful protest is stopped it is an infringement on the peoples rights. The BOS does not even want people to stand in a group. They frown on people carrying the American flag and it is not allowed in the county building. May not be long before they tell you that you can not have the flag flown at your home. They may make it illegal for you to display the flag any where. This is what happen when you allow them to get by with one thing they will keep adding to their list of what you can and can not do. It seems most people like the raises in taxes and utilities as they do nothing about it. When protests are totally banned then you will have no say at all. Yes protests are being banned in many places in this country. You even have to ask the government for a permit to protest in many places in this country. This is against our constitution. We have had many people arrested in this country for just showing up for a protest. Slowly our rights have disappeared and it seems most people do not care that our rights are being taken away and being made illegal. When you have a government that rules by force then people are scared to come out and fight for their rights. All that will happen is you will lose more of your freedom and they will keep taking more of your money and jobs. I see most people already have the slave mentally.

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011
Article comment by: No Way

I have no dog in the hunt here but, if true, what the heck are they doing calling this guys employer?

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