April 20, 2016 (San Diego) Court only met for the morning hearing, but this revealed the state of mind of Robert Branch when confronted by Detective Ward. This came during the testimony of Detective Chris Katra of the San Diego Sherriffs office.
The original incident happened on May 4, 2015, and Katra was assigned the case on May 5. The first steps the detective took was to have Detective Paul Ward come to the Santee station, where he Katra took custody of evidence. This evidence was a tactical vest, an iPhone 4, handcuffs, a flashlight, handcuff keys and a can of mace. He also took photos of the very mild injures that Ward sustained during the scuffle.
Katra already had obtained a warrant to go over the phone, but could not get into it since it was locked. So he went to see Robert Branch at his residence, with his partner. He left a business but was able to talk with Branch within half an hour at Branch’s home. During that interview Branch went over the road encounter and admitted to Katra that he did drive in the median to Katra but said he was pushed there by another car. He should have stopped but did not. “If I did anything wrong a cop would have stopped me over it and I deal with it.” This was during the examination by Assistant District Attorney Michael Runyon.
However when Marc Kohnen went further into the question, Kara said that Branch told him, that he should have stopped, but “that is how people get shot!” Branch told Ward that he was concnered for his safety and he wanted the detective to call for backup. Why? During that time we had Baltimore exploding and he was covered about the racism and quite frankly, Branch told Kara that he told Ward “I am going to record this for my own safety.”
The other significant question that Katra answered was to the ID. Yes, Ward did show Branch a shield, but during his interview his pattern, Sergeant Detective Stranger said that anybody can buy a badge on the internet. What completes the credentials for the Sheriff’s office is the blue ID. Branch allegedly never saw the blue identification card. Katra demonstrated to the court how presents his badge and ID. He essentially shows the badge, and then flips up the section of the trifold wallet where his ID is present.
The prosecution presented their theory of what they think was going on. They demonstrated that Branch lied to Ward, since he was not going to work. Branch later told Katra that he was going to visit his signifiant other in Chula Vista. The phone had text messages in it. They included the photo of a damaged vehicle and the prosecution claimed that the reason Branch wore the vest and carried the mace and other things, was as part of a gang related hit.
The defense countered in the cross examination that Branch wore that vest because he wanted to get used to it. He also could have used the language that the prosecution presented as gang related as that of a person romantically involved, They pointed out that Branch told Katra, before the detective even had gone though the phone, “I want you to go through my phone.” He also told Katra what he was going to find in the phone. This includes the video that was played in court, and also was played by Channel 10 and can be found online. But also that were were text messages and some nude photos.
The preliminary hearing will continue next Tuesday at nine in the morning.