Ex-Assemblyman Brooks pleads not guilty in California chase, confrontation
The Associated Press
A judge set trial Sept. 16 in California state court for a former Nevada assemblyman whose erratic behavior resulted in his expulsion just hours before authorities say he led police on a high-speed freeway chase, fought with officers trying to subdue him at gunpoint and attacked a police dog with a wrench.
Steven John Brooks II, 41, pleaded not guilty in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Victorville to felony charges of evading and obstructing an officer and throwing a substance at a police vehicle and misdemeanor harming a police animal during his March 28 arrest, according to court records.
Brooks could face more than five years in prison if he is convicted.
Brooks’ public defender and a spokesman for the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office didn’t immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.
Brooks, a second-term Democrat from North Las Vegas, made history as the first lawmaker ever expelled from the Nevada state Legislature. Colleagues called him a security threat.
His arrest just along Interstate 15 about 180 miles southwest of Las Vegas was his third in three months. It followed several reported hospitalizations for psychiatric evaluations and weeks of debate in the Legislature about whether to allow him to take his elected seat.
Barstow police said a disheveled Brooks argued with a tow truck driver at the side of the interstate, then sped away with a flat tire when police arrived. The 20-minute pursuit went about 23 miles and averaged more than 80 mph before officers deployed a spike strip to stop Brooks’ vehicle.
Police said Brooks attacked the dog inside his SUV before he was removed from the vehicle, subdued with a stun gun, shackled at the ankles and wrists and taken away on an ambulance gurney. He remains jailed on $100,000 bail.
In Las Vegas, a local judge nullified Brooks’ bail stemming from a separate arrest Feb. 10 on resisting a police officer with a weapon and three lesser charges.
Brooks is accused in that case of throwing punches and trying to grab a gun from a Las Vegas police officer called to a domestic argument involving Brooks and his estranged wife, Ada.
Brooks was indicted in April on a felony possession of a firearm by a prohibited person charge stemming from the Jan. 19 arrest that began his public spiral. Brooks was initially accused of threatening other state legislators.
A state attorney general prosecutor said grand jurors determined that Brooks shouldn’t have had a gun because he was an unlawful user of a controlled substance, marijuana.
Clark County commissioners in April named a replacement to fill Brooks’ Assembly term.