ASOTIN — An Asotin County judge has denied a Clarkston Walmart employee’s motions to dismiss resisting arrest and obstruction charges, saying probable cause exists for an arrest that went viral on social media.
Judge Tina Kernan issued a written decision on Mark A. Domino’s case late Friday afternoon after reviewing body and dash camera footage, an audio recording of the 911 call, a video recorded by a witness and Walmart surveillance tapes. Probable cause is not a finding of guilt and does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, she said.
Instead, it allows the case to move forward with a pretrial hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. next Tuesday and a jury trial on Oct. 3 in Asotin County District Court. Domino, who is representing himself, has pleaded innocent to all charges stemming from his arrest in the Walmart parking lot in June.
The 52-year-old Clarkston man was taken to the ground, stunned with a Taser and taken to the Asotin County Jail after allegedly refusing to comply with orders from Clarkston police. Officers had been called to the scene to investigate a possible vehicle prowl and provided with a description of a black man with a backpack, which matched Domino’s appearance, according to court documents.
During the interaction, Domino refused to hand over his identification, saying he knows his rights, and reportedly became argumentative. The judge said he was well within his rights not to identify himself, but his subsequent actions and refusal to obey commands led to probable cause for the obstruction charge.
However, Kernan said the charging document incorrectly identified the alleged crime as “obstruction of enforcement of gambling,” which will be dismissed if the city of Clarkston’s prosecutor doesn’t correct “the scrivener’s error” before the pretrial hearing.
Domino said he filed another motion on Monday to voice his objections to giving the city prosecutor more time to amend the original charges. Attorney Todd Richardson is handling the case on behalf of the city.
The court also denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the resisting arrest charge, saying it was not filed with the required affidavit.
In addition, Domino contends he was stopped only because he was black, but the judge said, “that does not appear to be the case.” He was detained because he matched the description of the reported suspect, Kernan determined.
The initial report to police turned out to be incorrect because Domino was getting into his own vehicle, but the officer was faced with a suspect who was “argumentative and uncooperative,” the judge said.
Domino maintains he was arrested without cause and should not have been detained on faulty information. He said he was protecting himself and did not attempt to flee or fight during the encounter, which was captured on cellphones and widely shared on social media.
Sandaine may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.