Captured on camera -- an altercation that could end a cop's career. Winooski Detective Jason Nokes faces aggravated assault charges for allegedly shooting an unarmed, mentally ill, trespass-suspect in the leg.
"This is a bad case. We wish they would get rid of it," said Jeffrey Wimette with the IBEW, Local Union 300. Now six months after the shooting, the police union says the state's attorney should drop the charges. The union points to an independent investigation that concluded Nokes' actions were justified. Nokes fired his weapon into Isaac Sage's leg after police say Sage resisted arrest and punched Nokes in the face, breaking his nose.
The union says Nokes could have done what he's trained to do -- shoot to kill. "Yeah, he did shoot somebody, but he shot him in the leg. Given his condition and the condition of his partner at the time, I think the guy got lucky he got shot in the leg," Wimette said. "It should be dropped."
"That's not going to happen," said Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan. Donovan, says the case should -- and will -- move forward through the court system. "We are going to treat Mr. Nokes the same way we would anybody else. The Grand Jury indicted. That's our system of justice. Whether people like it or not, this case will play out," he said.
The union says that's hurting Nokes' law enforcement career and could cost him up to $100,000 dollars to fight. "He's already in the hole tens-of-thousands of dollars in order to fight for innocence -- for justice if you will. He's got to sell his house," Wimette said.
"This should play out in a court of law in an open and transparent way," Donovan said. "The end of the day, the union isn't doing the legal analysis or legal work in the criminal court, his lawyer is. That's who we will deal with."
Nokes did not respond with a comment Monday and his lawyer would only say their position all along is that the charges should be dropped.
The Winooski City Manager released a statement saying, ... "We spent a good deal of time thinking about how to get a fair, impartial review of the events... In the case of Corporal Nokes, we understand that justice in our society involves a process... we will continue to wait until that process is complete."
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