Probation for ex-cop accused of kneeling on Black man's neck

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DENVER (AP) — A former police officer accused of holding two door-to-door roofing company salesmen on the ground at gunpoint and kneeling on the neck of one of them who is Black, saying they were terrorists and part of antifa, was sentenced to four years of probation on Tuesday.

Scott Gudmundsen, 66, of Loveland pleaded guilty to a single felony count of menacing with a weapon. His public defender, Ryan Markus, said Gudmundsen was a experiencing a mental health crisis and delusions at the time of the incident in June and believed he was part of a “culture war," The Denver Post reported. He also said Gudmundsen has post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

According to a criminal complaint, the Black salesmen, Colorado State University football player Barry Wesley, asked Gudmundsen not to kill him. Gudmundsen replied that he was not going to kill Wesley, but the police would, the document said.

“I can still feel how hard and how fast my heartbeat was,” Wesley said in court. “I can still remember the amount of adrenaline in my body … I was certain my death was going to be another hashtag, another reason for people to protest, because it was clear that to Mr. Gudmundsen my Black life did not matter.”

Gudmundsen apologized in a brief statement and said he was in a fog for six weeks after the surgery on his knee.

“I’m trying to scratch my head and figure out what happened and why I acted the way I did,” he said. “… I’m horrified by my behavior. The anesthesia I was under apparently had a lasting effect on me, and I was strange in the head for about six weeks … I apologize to the victims. I’m sorry.”

District Court Judge Michelle Brinegar said she could not sentence Gudmundsen to prison because of the terms of the plea deal. She said she chose probation, rather than a two-and-a-half year sentence in community corrections to ensure he is supervised for the longest period of time.

“There is no justice I can give that is adequate to the victims in this case,” she said, and addressed Wesley directly. “This is the best I can do. And I really do feel this is the most appropriate sentence to honor the trauma you’ve endured.”