Friday, January 14, 2000

Rose's former bookie acquitted of assault on officer

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Ron Peters said he was only trying to get away from an overly aggressive officer when he elbowed the 300-pound man in the face during a scuffle on a dark Springboro road Aug. 31.

        On Thursday, a Warren County jury agreed, acquitting Mr. Peters of assault on a police officer, a charge that could have put him in prison for 18 months.

        “It was good judgment by the jury,” said Mr. Peters, better known as Pete Rose's ex-bookie. “I'm happy it's over. It's a shame the whole situation happened.”

        Thursday's trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court pitted Mr. Peters against veteran Springboro Officer Kelly Denlinger, who admitted he never placed Mr. Peters under arrest after he pulled the 42-year-old Franklin man over on Yankee Road at 3:30 a.m.

        Assistant Prosecutor James Beaton said he thought Officer Denlinger's failure to advise Mr. Peters that he was being arrested for driving under suspension may have pushed the jury for acquittal.

        “It is difficult in a one-on-one (situation). Obviously they are going to hold a policeman to a higher standard,” Mr. Beaton said.

        Mr. Peters said he was stunned when Officer Denlinger began “manhandling” him. Officer Denlinger said the two scuffled after he ordered Mr. Peters out of the car, and he refused repeated orders to place his hands on the car.

        The two ended up on the ground, and Officer Denlinger said he was elbowed in the face while he had Mr. Peters in a wrestling hold meant to restrain him as he waited for other officers to arrive.

        The jolt to Officer Denlinger's face allowed Mr. Peters to break away. Officer Denlinger said when he realized what had happened, he saw Mr. Peters standing about 10 feet away, watching him.

        As Officer Denlinger reached for his Mace, Mr. Peters said he ran because he was afraid that Officer Denlinger might be reaching for his gun.

        Mr. Peters also faced an escape charge. However, prosecutors dismissed that charge, saying the evidence didn't support it.


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