A judge granted a motion Thursday to dismiss one of three charges against a Livingston police officer accused of assaulting a man during a supervised child exchange, a reversal of another judge’s earlier decision.
Judge Bobby W. McNatt dismissed a misdemeanor charge of battery against Officer Tyson Perry, 38. Perry still faces felony charges of battery with serious bodily injury and assault by a peace officer in connection with the 2012 incident.
Perry’s criminal trial is set to begin June 7.
Perry is charged with assaulting Dwight Larks, a 39-year-old real estate agent living in Livingston at the time, during a supervised handover of Lark’s child as part of a custody arrangement with the child’s mother.
According to a civil lawsuit filed by Larks, he and the child’s mother had a disagreement over the details of the exchange. During the confrontation in front of Larks’ home in May 2012, according to the claim, Perry ordered Larks to turn around several times and then placed him in handcuffs.
The officer is still working for the Livingston Police Department, although it’s unclear in what capacity.
Larks maintains he did not resist, but said he did not understand why he was being arrested. He claims Perry then threw him to the ground, causing injuries to Larks’ head, shoulder and knee. Perry then used his hand to drive Larks’ face into the ground again, according to the claim.
Larks is a former boyfriend of Perry’s wife and, in the claim, said he asked the officer if that had anything to do with his arrest. Perry gave an expletive-laced response that included the words “payback” and “karma,” according to court documents.
Larks was cited on suspicion of resisting arrest and violating a court order, according to Merced County booking records. No case was ever filed against him due to a lack of evidence, according to Rob Carroll, Merced County chief deputy district attorney.
Larks is seeking unspecified damages against Perry and the city of Livingston. He is seeking compensation for his medical care, loss of wages and distress, as well as the “deprivation of civil rights,” according to the claim filed in Merced Superior Court. The civil matter is set for a trial-setting conference March 21.
There is no record of Perry being arrested or booked at jail in connection with the allegations. Charges were filed last year by the District Attorney’s Office.
The officer and the city of Livingston also face a civil claim.
Alison Wilkinson, Perry’s attorney, requested dismissal of the misdemeanor charge because the applicable statute of limitations had expired. Thomas Min, the Merced County deputy district attorney prosecuting the case, had argued the misdemeanor charge, which was allowed by Judge David Moranda in October, fell within the scope of the original charge. McNatt is a retired judge who is filling in for Moranda temporarily.
Perry still works for the Livingston Police Department, according to Chief Ruben Chavez, although it’s unclear in what capacity. Chavez said he could not discuss Perry’s assignment, citing personnel issues. Perry was a sergeant before the charges were filed.