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Colorado county clerk turns herself in to authorities for charges of obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations

By Jeremy Harlan and Ashley Killough, CNN

Mesa County, Colorado, Clerk Tina Peters turned herself in to local authorities Thursday morning, a day after the Grand Junction Police Department had issued a warrant for her arrest.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office announced that Peters had turned herself in at 10:30 a.m. MST Thursday and posted a $500 bond. Her first court appearance will be an arraignment scheduled for March 2. Peters was booked for obstructing a peace officer and for obstructing government operations.

The arrest warrant had been issued on Wednesday, a day after police officers had briefly arrested Peters at a local business where Mesa County district attorney investigators executed a search warrant. Shortly afterward, Peters was released from custody at the scene while the DA’s office considered bringing charges.

According to a police affidavit from the Grand Junction Police Department, Peters was not cooperating with DA investigators as they tried to seize an iPad sought in the search warrant. Responding officers noted in the affidavit that a table of patrons were passing around an iPad, which Peters later denied was hers. Peters stepped in between an officer and a patron who allegedly blocked investigators from accessing the table, according to the affidavit. When officers tried to move her to the side, she “actively” resisted, the affidavit says.

At that point, according to the affidavit, an officer attempted to handcuff Peters. The affidavit notes that Peters continued to resist, at one point kicking back her right leg at a second officer’s Taser and magazine pouch who was trying to take a car key fob out of Peters’ hand.

In the affidavit, officers say they told Peters, “Do not kick! Do you understand!?” She was also told to “please relax,” to which she allegedly responded, “No!”

At that point, according to the affidavit, officers escorted her outside and an officer put her in a patrol vehicle.

According to the affidavit, the DA’s investigators obtained the iPad and asked officers not to file charges because they were considering similar charges. The investigators ultimately declined to press charges at the scene against Peters. At that point, according to the affidavit, officers released her from their custody.

According to the search warrant, Peters was in possession of the iPad while attending a hearing Monday for Belinda Knisley, her deputy at the clerk’s office. Knisley was arrested and charged last year with felony second-degree burglary and a misdemeanor cybercrime. Knisley pleaded not guilty to the charges last month, both related to alleged activity in the Clerk’s office.

District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told CNN the search warrant is not related to Knisley’s charges. Law enforcement wanted the iPad to determine whether Peters had recorded the hearing on the electronic tablet, despite telling the judge that she was not recording, according to the search warrant.

Rory McShane, a spokesperson for Peters, said in an email to CNN, “The Tina Peters Legal Defense Fund vigorously contests the allegations made in the Arrest Affidavit.”

“The team of officers procured the iPad listed in the search warrant and then attempted to seize items from Clerk Peters not listed in the warrant, specifically her car keys.”

McShane stated that the officers’ actions had caused bruises on Peters.

Asked whether Peters had recorded the hearing on her iPad, McShane said: “Tina Peters fully complied with the warrant this morning, self surrendering, and was shortly thereafter released.”

According to the affidavit, police officers offered to call Peters an ambulance to have her wrists, which she complained were injured, checked, but she refused the offer.

Separately, state and federal authorities are investigating allegations that Peters facilitated a security breach of election equipment last year. Last month, the district attorney’s office and the Colorado attorney general announced a grand jury investigation into the alleged breach.

Despite maintaining she had done nothing illegal, Peters was stripped of her duties overseeing the county’s elections last November. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has filed a lawsuit to prevent Peters from overseeing the 2022 elections.

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