The 16-year-old Aspen High School student who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly resisting arrest and possession of marijuana made his first court appearance today.
The boy appeared in front of Pitkin County District Court Judge Gail Nicholas at 8:30 a.m. He was accompanied by his adult sister and his attorney, Ryan Kalamaya.
The teen waived advisement of the charges that were filed against him last week. They include resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer, underage possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The hearing was continued so Kalamaya has time to review the police report, which he has not received yet.
The student has been suspended from school since his arrest on Feb. 6. It follows a forceful taken down arrest that was captured by students nearby. It took two police officers and a civilian to get the boy on the ground. It was just outside of a bus stop near the school campus. One of the officers suspected he was rolling a joint — an allegation Kalamaya says his client denies. The teen did have marijuana in his backpack, however.
Kalamaya says the events leading up to the arrest and the forceful take-down has led to criticism of the police department, and debate in the community about excessive force. Ryan Kalamaya.
“I think it’s healthy to have a debate about the role of law enforcement in our society. I think it’s healthy to talk about what is appropriate conduct. But ultimately, it comes down to a police officer has the burden of probable cause to arrest someone.”
The teen says his family owns a business and his mother had to work so she could not attend Tuesday’s court hearing. But, he expects her to be at the next one scheduled for March 2.
Ryan Kalamaya is a member of Aspen Public Radio’s Citizens Advisory Board.