CHEYENNE – The trial of a man accused of fighting with his child’s mother and law enforcement began Tuesday morning in Laramie County District Court.
Nigel Latham has been charged with disarming a peace officer, child endangering and unlawful contact. On Tuesday, the jury was picked, and the defense and state made opening arguments and began calling witnesses.
During her opening argument, prosecuting attorney Rachel Berkness told the jury that on March 4, 2018, officers responded to a child custody call. But just like any other city, the life of law enforcement can turn chaotic quickly.
Berkness told the jury that before officers arrived, the mother went inside the residence, where Latham pinned the mother to the wall when she tried to get her daughter. She told law enforcement that Latham had his screaming daughter in his arms and was drinking from a bottle of Krud Kutter.
When law enforcement arrived, Berkness said Latham then struggled with police and tried to go for an officer’s gun. During the altercation, an officer was reported as shouting “he’s going for my gun.”
This event all happened before the Cheyenne Police Department received body cameras, so there is no video footage of the incident. She said this is a credibility contest type of case.
Defense attorney Brian Quinn said he agrees with that statement because jurors aren’t going to see any evidence.
Quinn told the jurors that Latham is an innocent man, and he didn’t push the mother of his child against the wall. He said when the mother arrived to pick up the daughter, Latham put a jacket on her and handed her over.
Latham would never put the daughter he loves in harm’s way, Quinn said.
After the handover, Latham was knocked to the ground and punched twice in the face, he said. All of this occurred without any crime being committed.
Quinn asked the jury to think about the dramatic picture the state just painted. He asked the jury to make sure the evidence clearly supports that picture, and he’s confident the jury will return with a not guilty verdict.
The trial of Mijito Johnson also began Tuesday morning in Laramie County District Court. Johnson is being charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a pregnant woman and one count of interference with child custody.