Sheriff: Defendant in Oregon trial reached for police officer's gun in courtroom

A defendant in a criminal trial stood up and reached for the service weapon of a police officer who was present to testify in court Wednesday, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said. The incident was captured on camera. (LCSO)

NEWPORT, Ore. - A defendant in a criminal trial stood up and reached for the service weapon of a police officer who was present to testify in court Wednesday, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said.

The incident was captured on camera.

The officer "was able to create separation from the attack, while jail deputies quickly intervened and took the defendant to the ground," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Due to the swift actions from the officer and deputies involved, none of the parties sustained any serious injuries, jail medical staff treated one of the deputies for minor scrapes and abrasions."

The defendant - Scott Patrick Lemmon, 27, of Newport - was later convicted on the charges against him: Robbery II, Burglary I, Theft II, two counts of Menacing and four counts of Coercion.

He may face additional charges in connection with his actions Wednesday, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff noted that Lemmon was un-restrained during his court appearance.

"In the fall of 2017, the 9th Circuit Court found the practice of shackling (restraining) criminal defendants without a specific finding by a Judge, is unconstitutional," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "They did not leave any ambiguity or room for argument; it is now a clearly established right in the 9th Circuit."

A judge can make a finding that a defendant be restrained.

When defendants are not restrained, the sheriff's office has established a new policy.

"In order to ensure safety and security for all parties involved, any time a Judge makes a ruling of no restraints, a minimum of two deputies are required to be in the courtroom with the individual," the sheriff's office said. "This is the first serious incident that has taken place in Lincoln County since the ruling change."

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