Pima County Sheriff candidate for the Green Party, David Croteau, was found guilty of assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in Tucson City Court. Croteau’s nearly weekly aggressive rants resulted in an assault on Army recruiters, trespassing on private property and disruption of normal operations, resulting in the disorderly conduct charge.
Croteau must pay a $500 fine or perform 50 hours of community service. When asked by Judge Klotz how soon the Court could expect Croteau perform his community service, Crouteau told the judge that he wasn’t sure as he was busy now running for Pima County Sheriff.
Croteau did not call his witness, “Locolizrd Shaun Occupyearth Parker,” after the recruiters and witnesses testified as to Croteau’s abusive and disruptive behavior.
July 11th started like any other Wednesday for the Army recruiters and a group of troop supporters. The troop supporters, headed up by Pat Sexton, set up flags along on the sidewalk on Speedway Boulevard at about 7:00 every Wednesday morning. Like Sexton, many of the group’s members have or have had family members in the armed services or are retired veterans themselves.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m., a father and his kids were returing to their vehicle after thanking Sexton and her group for their committment to the troops, when, according to testimony, Croteau approached the father and children. Croteau began yelling at the father that he sould not lie to his children, and that he needed to tell them that women are raped in the armed services. The father put his kids in the family’s truck and drove away.
As the truck pulled out of the parking lot, an Army recruiter was walking toward the recruiting station. Croteau followed the recruiter, yelling about women being raped and the “military industrial complex.” As the recruiter was about to enter the office he turned toward Croteau and advised him that he was trespassing, that he had been warned before about trespassing, and asked him to leave. As Croteau grew angrier, he jabbed his finger at the sergeant’s chest twice, telling him that his rank was too low and Croteau would not listen to him.
Immediately following Croteau was another sergeant arriving for work. This sergeant testified that he positioned himself in such a way so that he could view the altercation. As the second sergeant entered the office, he could see that Croteau had his foot in the door and would not let the door close. The sergeant turned around and asked Croteau to vacate the premises, at which time, Crouteau stepped forward and hit him in the chest and chin in one swift move. The sergeant testified that it did not appear that Croteau wanted to hit him, but that “common sense would tell someone that if they move forward while lifting up a sign towards that person while only inches away, they are going to hit that person.”
Croteau, who believes that the attack on 9/11 was “an inside job,” told the judge in his long winded closing argument, that he was an angry veteran, who was fighting for world peace.
“Those of us who proudly show our support and gratitude for America’s Military, their mission and our Constitution on a sidewalk in Tucson, Arizona, understand that ‘Freedom is Not Free,” said Pat Sexton. “Those who go there to protest the recruiters do not understand that their actions could very well be impossible if it weren’t for the service and sacrifice of these brave troops and those veterans who served before them. It is also very ironic that Croteau, who proports to be for peace, has been anything but peaceful since he began showing up on Wednesday mornings.”
One courtroom observer noted, “He sure does have a funny way of promoting peace. If he is a model for tolerance, we are screwed and world peace is impossible.”
Another spectator said of the candidate, “Pima County is fast becoming known as the home of the fringe on the range. If you thought Dupnik was a hot head reactionary after the Giffords shooting, at least he is not Dave.”
Croteau’s democratic opponent, incumbent Clarence Dupnik, earned national criticism when he claimed that the man who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed others, was a political fanatic. The shooter, Jared Loughner, was diagnosed to be mentally ill and apolitical. Both men are facing Republican Mark Napier in the upcoming General Election.