A Dubuque County jury on Tuesday found a man not guilty of assaulting and harassing a police officer with whom he fought.
The verdict came on the second day of the trial of Jaylon T. Randolph, 23, now of Las Vegas and formerly of Dubuque, on charges of assault on persons in certain occupations causing bodily injury and second-degree harassment.
The charges stemmed from a series of events on May 29, 2019. Asbury police responded to Hillcrest Family Services on Seippel Road after an assault was reported. Upon arrival, police learned that a staff member had punched a resident after the resident attacked him.
Randolph worked as a mental health technician at the facility.
When approached by police, Randolph acknowledged that he was the staff member who punched the resident but said he did so in self-defense after the resident charged him.
Video footage captured the attack by the resident as well as the ensuing events.
Police officer Steven Siemionko asked Randolph to state his full name. Randolph gave his first name but declined to give his last name, stating he did not wish for the resident to be charged.
In video footage played in court, Siemionko then yells at Randolph and they start arguing. After Randolph continued to refuse to give his last name, Siemionko walks around the desk behind which Randolph was standing and tells him to turn around, so he can be handcuffed. The two struggle, and it quickly turns violent.
Siemionko quickly pins Randolph’s head under his left arm, and both men repeatedly punch the other in the side at times.
In the video, Randolph can be heard telling the officer to “get off me” and then say he couldn’t breathe before flailing his legs and kneeing Siemionko in the groin.
After another officer arrived at the scene, Siemionko released Randolph, who went to the ground as ordered and was arrested.
After being put in a police car, video footage shows Randolph making several statements to Siemionko, including stating that he was a boxer, invoking karma against Siemionko’s actions and referencing Siemionko’s family.
During the trial, prosecutor Assistant Dubuque County Attorney Jonathan Dunn contended that Randolph assaulted Siemionko while he was trying to make a lawful arrest and that Randolph later directly threatened Siemionko’s safety of both himself and his family.
“Steven Siemionko used only lawful force,” Dunn said. “He didn’t know what Mr. Randolph’s intentions were.”
Defense attorney Joey Hoover argued that Randolph was innocent of any assault since he was not given proper warning that he was being arrested and, in response to Siemionko’s physically grabbing him, moved to defend himself. He added that Randolph’s statements made after his arrest were the result of Randolph being distressed — not actual threats.
“If we look at this film, we do not see a person who is trying to make an arrest,” Hoover said. “What we see is a police officer who wanted to show who is the boss.”
Testifying in court, Siemionko said he kept Randolph in a pinned position in order to protect himself, Randolph and other people who were in the surrounding area at the time.
“The situation right there is a scary situation for any officer,” Siemionko said. “I was in a bad situation.”
Randolph testified that he attacked Siemionko out of fear for his life.
“I thought he was trying to break my neck at the time,” Randolph said. “I was really just struggling to get some breath and get free.”