Milton-Freewater man sentenced in assault on officer

Fausto Diaz-Lara received a 90-day jail sentence in connection with the assault at last year's Fair & Frontier Days.

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WALLA WALLA -- A man convicted of assaulting a police officer while trying to resist arrest at last year's Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days will serve another two weeks in the County Jail.

Fausto Diaz-Lara, 19, was sentenced Thursday afternoon to 90 days for the assault on Detective Kevin Bayne, who suffered a debilitating leg injury. The sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann is the high end of the standard-range penalty of one to three months Diaz-Lara faced for his felony third-degree assault conviction.

But when Diaz-Lara is released from jail in 14 days, he will have served a total of 45 -- half of the sentence. That's because Lohrmann gave Diaz-Lara credit for the 31 days he'd already served, as required by law, and converted the 45 remaining days to service on the Department of Corrections work crew.

Lohrmann also sentenced Diaz-Lara to 30 days each for two other crimes of which he was convicted -- obstructing a law enforcement officer, which is a gross misdemeanor, and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. A jury on Feb. 4 found Diaz-Lara guilty of the charges following a nearly week-long trial.

Lohrmann allowed the jail terms to be served at the same time. He also placed Diaz-Lara on a year of community custody, a form of probation, and ordered him to pay $10,588.65 in restitution.

Before the sentences were imposed Thursday, Diaz-Lara told Lohrmann he wishes he had listened to Bayne and other officers who were trying to arrest him "and none of this would have happened." His attorney, William McCool, said Diaz-Lara pulled away during the "freak incident," but there is no evidence he wanted to hurt any of the officers.

However, Bayne said Diaz-Lara threw him to the ground. "It will be a year before I'm fully recovered," Bayne told Lohrmann. "It was a substantial injury,"

The encounter Diaz-Lara had with the officers occurred in the adult carnival area of the fairgrounds about 10:15 p.m. Sept. 3. He was wanted on a Superior Court warrant and when the officers tried to detain him, Bayne was injured.

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 and undergoes physical therapy. He conducts investigations and completes paperwork, but is unlikely to be able to perform duties requiring strenuous physical activity for several more months.

Diaz-Lara, of 53066 Appleton Road, Milton-Freewater, was booked into the Walla Walla County Jail after Bayne was injured, but was released a few days later on bail. Diaz-Lara was jailed again after he was convicted.

Two separate juries have acquitted him this year of various, unrelated criminal charges.

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

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