Man who held knife at side guilty of threatening liquor cops

Apparently it’s not ok to feel threatened and maybe try to scare someone if the person tailing you happens to be some type of undercover cop.


A Kensington man was found guilty of criminal threatening for holding an open pocket knife at his side while asking two people who were walking behind him at midnight, “Why are you following me?”

The pair walking behind Dustin Almon, 28, of 27 Wild Rose Lane, were state Liquor Enforcement cops, both in plain clothes without any indicators that they were members of law enforcement, according to testimony during a Thursday Portsmouth District Court trial. Both were also carrying concealed handguns and Tasers, they testified.

One of them, Officer Anthony Cattabriga, said he was walking behind Almon on Chapel Street on Nov. 8, 2008, when Almon turned around three times to look at him and a new officer he was training. It was dark and Almon was twenty feet away when he displayed a knife with a two-inch blade the third time he turned around, said Cattabriga.

“He pointed it down by his side,” the liquor officer testified, while demonstrating with Almon’s seized pocket knife.

When he responded by yelling “police,” Almon folded the knife, clipped it to his belt and complied with all subsequent police orders, Cattabriga testified.

Almon was initially arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, but the charge was later upgraded to criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.

“I feared for my safety,” Cattabriga said from a District Court witness stand.

Cattabriga’s trainee, whose name was not entered into the trial record, corroborated her partner’s testimony and said the entire event lasted two to three minutes.

Almon’s attorney, Patrick Devine, described his client’s actions as self defense.

“A crime was not committed,” he told the court. “He was protecting himself against unknown people following him.”

Judge Sawako Gardner examined the knife before finding Almon guilty of the class A misdemeanor.

“It doesn’t matter who was behind you,” the judge said, while explaining that Almon was guilty of the charge for placing another person in fear of bodily injury.

Noting no previous criminal record, the judge sentenced Almon to 30 days in the Rockingham County House of Corrections, with all of it suspended pending a year of good behavior. He was also fined $500 with half suspended pending the same good behavior.

Devine notified the court that he intends to appeal the decision to a higher court.


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