A local man is accused of abusing his partner and threatening to kill a law enforcement officer.
Rick Valdez, born in 1976, is being held on felony charges of partner or family member assault — third or subsequent, and threats and other improper influence in official and political matters. He is also charged with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges on Feb. 3 in District Court in Havre.
Here’s what happened, according to Hill County court charging documents:
On Jan. 24, police responded to a Jefferson Avenue residence to investigate a report involving domestic violence.
The caller met the officers at the apartment and then let them in.
The caller told them that Valdez, with whom she had been in an off-and-on relationship for three years, got drunk and began arguing about their past relationship. He became increasingly angry, the woman said, and then grabbed her by both cheeks, picked her up, and threw her to the ground.
The woman said Valdez had abused her in the past, including an incident where he “choked her out,” and he threatened to kill her.
The woman said she fled the apartment and hid behind a tree until the police arrived.
Police found Valdez sleeping while looking through the apartment. They were cautious, “as Valdez is known to have fought with law enforcement in the past.”
Valdez refused numerous police instructions. When an officer told him to step out, he clenched his fists, closed the distance between him and the officer and shouted, “Easy, I’ll string the back of your eye.”
The officer tased Valdez on the arm and two others helped handcuff and transport him to the Hill County Detention Center.
Charging documents said that once Valdez was transported to jail, he tried to kick a detention officer. As he was being taken down and restrained, Valdez reportedly threatened to kill a specific officer once he was free, adding, “I will dedicate my life to f– killing you.”
Valdez has five prior partners or family member assault offenses, according to court documents: Four from Hill County and one from Missoula County.
Valdez is being held on a $25,000 bond and has a bail modification hearing in District Court March 16 at 9 a.m. He is presumed innocent of the charges unless he is found guilty or pleads guilty to the charges.
Write to Paul Dragu at firstname.lastname@example.org