Eye opening warrant emerges in second arrest in two days of Colorado MAGA official
Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos Staff – February 11, 2022
On Feb. 8, MAGA-supporting Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters was arrested and released after she resisted a court-ordered search of her iPad. Peters is suspected of having illegally recorded the court proceedings of her suspected accomplice, Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley, in a criminal case. Peters and Knisley have been under investigation by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold for their breach of security protocols, compromising the integrity of the Dominion voting machines under their care. Knisley is accused of having illegally accessed Peters computer using Peters’ credentials two days after she was suspended from access to the office for a separate incident.
On Thursday, Peters was forced to turn herself in on a new arrest warrant stemming from an altercation with Grand Junction police officers on Tuesday. Peters was arrested this time and released after posting a $500 bond for “obstructing a peace officer.” Business Insider got its hands on the warrant for this new arrest and, along with the video of the arrest, it sheds light on what went down.
In the video seen below, which began as officers placed their hands on Peters to turn her around and try to handcuff her, Peters is resisting arrest. At one point she says they are hurting her and tries to kick backwards at the two officers. She is subsequently taken outside where we can see her, handcuffed, speaking with authorities and another person.
The affidavit fills out a lot of the details. According to the warrant, the Grand Junction officers were responding to a request for assistance from investigators with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, who were at the bagel shop where Peters and her associates were at the time. Those investigators had been serving a warrant for the search of Peters’ iPad after the judge in her accomplice’s criminal case asked that it be retrieved to check for recordings of the proceedings that Peters denied, but numerous witnesses in court said she was making.
The Denver Post received a statement at the time of Peters’ first arrest this week from her legal defense fund spokesperson Rory McShane claiming: “The search warrant presented listed exactly one item, an iPad with a white case. Clerk Peters complied with that, then officers began attempting to take other items of personal property, not listed in the warrant including her car keys, which is illegal.” But according to the affidavit and the video, McShane and Peters seem to be conflating events in order to change the narrative of obstruction Peters seems to be making a career of these days.
From the affidavit:
As I was approaching the front door, I observed DA Investigators Heil, Struwe, and Cannon in a heated discussion with a group of people seated and standing near the front table inside the business. As I stepped inside, I heard DA Investigator Cannon advise he had probable cause to charge a female with whom he was in contact with Tampering With Physical Evidence, a felony.
According to Grand Junction police, the scene they came upon—and the reason the district attorney’s office called for law enforcement’s help—was Peters’ refusal to give up the iPad after being presented with the search warrant. Not only do they allege she refused to give it up, but she then proceeded to keep investigators from getting their hands on the device, while passing it around among her associates at the bagel shop and possibly erasing evidence of her crime.
The affidavit goes on to explain that a male suspect was the main person in-between the district attorney and the table of associates passing around the iPad in question. When the officer told the man to step away, Peters stepped in front of him with her back to the officer, literally obstructing him from approaching the table with the iPad.
I took the female suspect [Peters] by her left bicep and tried to move her to her right where Sgt Church and Officer Tafoya were located so I could access [redacted] The female suspect then began actively resisting and was placed in handcuffs for obstructing officers. As she was being placed in handcuffs, Officer Tafoya repeatedly told her to not resist. As I was attempting to double lock the handcuffs, Officer Tafoya was attempting to get a car key/fob out of the suspect’s right hand. At this point the suspect attempted to kick back with her right leg to strike Officer Tafoya. She missed Officer Tafoya’s body but did contact Officer Tafoya’s Taser and magazine pouch which were located on Officer Tafoya’s belt. I told the suspect “Do not kick! Do you understand!?” Sgt Church also asked the suspect to “please relax” which she yelled “No!”
Remember how Peters and her legal representative tried to characterize what happened as police overreach in asking for more than what was in the original search warrant? Well, as you can watch below, it seems that officers weren’t trying to take her car key fob as part of the search, they were trying to get her hand behind her back as she resisted arrest for obstruction. Considering what we have seen Black folks go through—like the cases where “obstruction” and “resisting” were simply the person asking why they were being arrested—Peters gets a lot of runway. It’s a good thing she wasn’t a Black girl between the ages of 6 and 17 or she may have been treated a lot less civilly.
Then the conversation that one cannot hear in the video is given by the report. The woman talking to Peters is told by police to step away:
As the female was not stepping away from the suspect, who was not calming down, she was escorted across Main Street to where my patrol car was located. She continued to actively resist and was just going limp and attempted to crumple to the sidewalk. I advised her she was under arrest and she needed to stand up and walk. I placed her in an escort position and continued walking her to my marked patrol car. She continued to yell and scream at officers that we were hurting her. I again told the suspect she needed to stand up and walk. As we got to the patrol car the suspect again yelled to let her go, I again advised her she was under arrest. When she asked why, I advised her she was under arrest for Obstruction.
The police officer says that they then searched her pockets, which she resisted, and put her into the back of the police vehicle. “Once inside the patrol vehicle and out of view of the multiple people recording this interaction on cell phones, the suspect calmed down immediately. As I was attempting to buckle her, she asked if I knew what I was doing and then she stated I was assisting a Merrick Garland (unk spelling). She continued talking about something pertaining to the election as I closed the patrol car door, but this was indiscernible as she was almost whispering once in the car.”
The district attorney seems to have asked the police not to charge her themselves with duplicate charges of obstruction as the district attorney would be adding that to their list after Tuesday’s events. Then the district attorney came over, at which time Peters said he should be investigating election fraud. (At least she’s a consistent MAGA zealot, right?) The district attorney explained that they would be taking her iPad, which was how this all started in the first place. “Peters denied the iPad being hers.” Ha! The district attorney then asked that Peters be released.
According to the affidavit, the moment she was out of handcuffs she “ignored DA Investigator Struwe and had a female take photos of her wrists as she was complaining that she was injured.” Police offered her an ambulance to check her wrists, which she refused.
Griswold has been successful in having both Peters and Knisley barred from overseeing the Mesa County elections in 2021, and has continued working successfully to have them both barred permanently from those responsibilities.