Section: CAPITAL REGION Page: B1 Date: Thursday, July 20, 2000
TOP CHARGE TOSSED AT TRIALCAROL DeMARE Staff writer
On a prosecutor's request, a charge of resisting arrest was dismissed Wednesday against a man picked up by police as they hunted for a suspect in the shooting of two cops.
Almasi Forrest, 24, of Albany, was arrested on Nov. 13 outside Fat Dee's market at Clinton Avenue and North Swan Street, down the block from where two cops were shot just hours earlier. Forrest had no connection with the shooting. Disorderly conduct is the only charge remaining in Forrest's nonjury trial in City Court. Police testified Wednesday at the trial before Judge John C. Egan Jr. that Forrest interfered with the arrest of his brother on a marijuana charge, refusing to leave the scene outside Fat Dee's despite repeated orders to do so. Tensions ran high in the Arbor Hill community at the time as police swept through the neighborhood looking for their suspect, Tracy Grady, 34. Police believed Grady used one officer's gun to shoot him and his partner on patrol. Grady was arrested weeks later in Georgia after a cross-country manhunt and remains in custody in Albany. Community leaders complained about police actions following the shooting, alleging they were heavy-handed, and called for a civilian review board.
A jury panel was waiting to be selected for Forrest's trial when Assistant District Attorney James Nixon moved to drop the resisting-arrest charge, a misdemeanor. ``It was a prosecutorial decision'' to withdraw it, Nixon said. He declined to elaborate. Once Egan dismissed the charge, all that remained was disorderly conduct, a violation. Juries are not empaneled for violations, Nixon said. The trial continues today with defense attorney Randall E. Kehoe calling witnesses.
Prosecutor Nixon said he presented evidence Wednesday to show that ``Almasi Forrest was there congregating with others observing his brother, Oliver Forrest, being placed under arrest for unlawful possession of marijuana, which he pled guilty to 10 days after his arrest.'' A certificate of conviction was placed into evidence, he said. Detective Kimberly McCoy testified that Forrest was `'trying to interfere with the arrest,'' Nixon said. Officer William Warner testified he told Forrest and others several times to leave. Three or four others with Forrest dispersed, Nixon said. But Forrest remained. McCoy testified she told Forrest about 10 times to leave, warning that if he didn't he would be arrested for disorderly conduct. The violation carries a fine and/or a maximum of 15 days in jail upon conviction. Forrest is not in custody.