Man convicted of assault on officer

Fausto Diaz-Lara faces up to a year in jail for the assault on a city police detective.

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WALLA WALLA -- A Superior Court jury has convicted a man of assaulting a police officer while trying to resist arrest last summer at the Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days.

Fausto Diaz-Lara, 19, was found guilty Friday afternoon of third-degree assault, obstructing a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

He initially was charged with second-degree assault.

But the 12-person jury convicted him of the less-serious crime of third-degree assault.

The trial began Tuesday. Diaz-Lara will be sentenced later. He faces up to a year in the County Jail.

The case stemmed from an encounter Diaz-Lara had with officers in the adult carnival area of the fairgrounds about 10:15 p.m. on Sept. 3.

He was wanted on a Superior Court warrant and when the officers tried to detain him, Walla Walla police Detective Kevin Bayne was injured after Diaz-Lara resisted, officials said.

Diaz-Lara reportedly stepped over Bayne's leg and in the struggle Bayne fell to the ground, yelling in pain and holding his left knee.

Law enforcement personnel accompanying Bayne managed to handcuff Diaz-Lara, while another officer held several of Diaz-Lara's friends -- who were becoming increasingly agitated -- at Taser-point until backup help arrived.

Bayne was treated at Providence St. Mary Medical Center and discharged.

He later underwent surgery, still wears a brace and undergoes physical therapy.

He conducts investigations and completes paperwork, but is unlikely to be able to perform duties requiring strenuous physical activity until next fall.

Diaz-Lara, of 53066 Appleton Road, Milton-Freewater, was booked into the Walla Walla County Jail, but was released Sept. 7 on bail. He was ordered returned to jail after his convictions Friday.

Recently two separate juries acquitted him of various, unrelated criminal charges.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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