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Man pleads not guilty to assaulting officers

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A Kalispell man is accused of kicking two law enforcement officers while being placed under arrest. Arsenio Savionlouis Zanca, 31, entered a plea of not guilty at District Court in Polson on July 15 to assaulting a peace officer. 

According to court records, at about midnight on June 20, Mission Police Officer Jessie Girsh was on patrol when he observed a Dodge Durango traveling over 50 mph in a 25 mph zone. After a brief pursuit, the officer was able to initiate a traffic stop on the Durango. As Girsch approached the Durango, the vehicle moved toward him in reverse.

Girsch had to get back into his patrol unit to avoid being hit. He then re-approached the Durango, observed two occupants and ordered them to put their hands on the dash where he could see them. 

The driver, later identified as Zanca, refused to comply and instead put his hand on the handle of a knife in a sheath. Girsch drew his stun gun and warned Zanca that he would deploy the stun gun if he didn’t comply with the orders. 

Girsch was also able to send out an emergency code on his radio. A deputy with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to the emergency code and arrived a short time later to help place Zanca under arrest. 

Zanca allegedly kicked both officers as they tried to place him in the back of a patrol unit. Both officers sustained injuries described as mild to moderate.

Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set a trial date for Nov. 22. Zanca remains at liberty until a pre-trial hearing, set for Sept. 30.


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