Keaton Mentis, Minot, pleads not guilty to resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia

A judge found probable cause to let two Class C felony charges move forward against Keaton George Mentis, 28, of Minot, who is accused of misdemeanor trespass on CP Rail property, possession of meth paraphernalia and resisting arrest on Oct. 27, 2018.

However, Judge Gary Lee told the lawyers that there are some significant problems with the case.

Mentis is charged with Class C felony possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia and Class C felony resisting arrest. He was also charged in Minot Municipal Court with disobedience of a movement control order and trespass, both Class B misdemeanors.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed with the court and testimony given Thursday by Jared Foley of the Minot Police Department, a CP Rail employee had called police to report that a man was walking along the rail lines east of the CP Depot. However, Mentis was not on CP Rail property when the officers actually arrived. He was walking on public property in the 1500 block of Valley Street.

Foley wrote that he saw Mentis walking away from Officer Robinson. Robinson told Foley that he had ordered Mentis to stop and Mentis ignored him. Foley turned on his emergency lights, pulled ahead of Mentis and told him to come over to the patrol vehicle. Mentis told Foley that he had a right to walk there and was doing nothing wrong. Mentis then turned and started walking further into the ditch.

At that point, Foley ran up to Mentis, grabbed him by his arms, and tried to force him towards the ground. Foley and Mentis then lost their balance on the embankment and they fell. Foley landed on top of Mentis and grabbed his left arm, attempting to subdue him. Mentis kept his arms under his body and wouldn’t cooperate. The other officer threatened to tase Mentis if he didn’t comply and Mentis then stopped resisting and was handcuffed.

Judge Lee told the lawyers at the hearing on Thursday that an officer cannot place a suspect under arrest for a misdemeanor offense unless he saw a misdemeanor being committed. Resisting arrest under those circumstances also is not a felony offense because the arrest was for a misdemeanor and not a felony. A citizen who saw a misdemeanor committed can, however, place the suspect under citizen’s arrest.

Lee also said at the hearing that a person who is not committing a crime is not obligated to stop when an officer tells him to do so and is not required to go over to the officer’s patrol car.

According to Foley’s affidavit, the officers led Mentis back to the patrol car after he had been handcuffed. Senior Officer Joshua Noyes recognized Mentis. Mentis complained of back pain and the officers called for an ambulance. While they were waiting for the ambulance, officers then searched a bag that Mentis was carrying and looked for items that might have fallen out of it into the ditch during the struggle. Foley located a small zipped up bag in the ditch that contained two glass pipes with meth residue.

Mentis’s lawyer, Benjamin Migdal, told the judge that the drug paraphernalia was discovered as the result of the arrest, which might be questionable, and he didn’t think probable cause had been established.

Lee said he would let the felony charges move forward, as it was only a probable cause hearing, but the charges might need further investigation.

According to Foley’s affidavit, a CP Rail employee told police that he told Mentis not to walk on the tracks. Mentis initially complied but was later seen walking on the rails. The CP Rail employee told police that he wanted Mentis charged with trespass. The CP Rail employee then did place Mentis under citizen’s arrest for trespassing.

Mentis was also arrested on outstanding warrants.

Mentis entered not guilty pleas to the Class C felony charges.