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Sat, Oct. 19

Fried seeks dismissal of trespassing charge

KINGMAN - A Kingman man is fighting to have a trespassing charge filed against him by Mohave County dismissed. Eric Engan, the attorney for Mervin Fried, filed a motion to dismiss trespassing charges against his client on Aug. 20.

Fried was arrested and charged with trespassing on Feb. 16 when he entered the County Administration Building with a pitchfork after attending a protest outside.

According to court documents, County Manager Ron Walker told Engan that a rule governing conduct within the Board of Supervisors chamber allowed him to ask Fried not to enter the building with the pitchfork.

Engan argues in the motion that the rule only applies within the Board chambers not to the entire building. He also pointed out that Walker allowed people with guns into the building.

Walker argued that Fried entering the building with a pitchfork was a disturbance and could create a danger to others in the building.

Engan countered that county policies give Walker control over county employees, not over the public, and he can't stop public access to the building. Fried did not unlawfully enter the county building because he is a member of the public entering a public building during normal business hours, his attorney wrote.

"Perhaps Mr. Fried had county-related business - which, in fact, he would testify that he did. Perhaps Mr. Fried was interested in the fact that the building has won awards for energy efficiency. Perhaps Mr. Fried was interested in its architecture. Perhaps Mr. Fried just wanted to see the fine structure that Mr. Fried's tax dollars helped build," Engan wrote in his motion.

Engan also pointed out that Fried did nothing to block public access to the building and did not interfere with county business in any other way.

Walker's argument that his authority as manager of the county's risk management program allows him to control access to the building is also unfounded, Engan said.

A reading of the policy only gives Walker the authority to manage the program, he said. It also directs him to bring any possible regulation of the public to the Board first.

A hearing date to discuss Engan's motion to dismiss has not been set.

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