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Man Who Assaulted Officer Sentenced to Probation, Program for Mentally Ill Repeat Offenders

A 45-year-old man who kicked and punched an El Cajon police officer trying to detain him in an East County parking lot was allowed today to enter a program for mentally ill repeat offenders.

Richard Brooks Nevett Jr., who pleaded guilty to assault on a peace office and robbery, was sentenced to a year in jail and probation.

The defendant was given credit for 252 days in jail and will be released to a treatment program that works with the Behavioral Health Court as soon as a bed is available, said Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta.

The Behavioral Health Court is designed to help non-violent repeat offenders whose criminal lives are driven by mental illness. Defendants who go through Behavioral Health Court are assigned a probation officer and a case worker with access to services such as housing, therapy and medication.

Participants must appear before Trentacosta each month for a progress report.

Last Sept. 13 about 11:50 p.m., Officer Ben Hogan responded to a report of an intoxicated man causing a disturbance in the 200 block of Jamacha Road. When the officer tried to talk to Nevett, he fled and the officer gave chase.

Moments later, Nevett turned around and confronted Nevett and began advancing toward him in an "aggressive manner," clutching a metal pipe and what appeared to be a knife, police said. The officer backed away and ordered Nevett to drop the weapons, which he did before running off.

Hogan again gave chase, and Nevett turned around and took up a "fighting stance," according to police. The officer responded by zapping Nevett with a stun gun, which failed to subdue him.

A foot pursuit led into a parking lot in the 1200 block of East Main Street, where Nevett tripped and fell. The officer grabbed the suspect, who began to kick and punch him, police said.

Two men who happened to be in the area helped subdue Nevett until other officers arrived.

Nevett was then identified as a suspect in a nearby grocery store robbery that had occurred hours earlier, according to police.

Hogan and Nevett suffered minor injuries. The two good Samaritans were not injured.

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