A Kenai man was tased by Anchorage courthouse officers and charged with disorderly conduct Monday after refusing to leave after a hearing, in an incident recorded in a video that has since been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
David Haeg, 51, was arrested Monday at the Nesbett Courthouse in downtown Anchorage. He had appeared for a status hearing in a lengthy case that stems from a 2004 conviction. Dozens of supporters joined him — family, friends and others who say they have experienced judicial corruption, Haeg said.
Alaska State Troopers said Monday that the crowd was hostile but declined to give an opinion on the use of force. Since a Taser was used, a review is underway, troopers said, but whether the findings of the use-of-force report will be released remains to be seen.
Haeg was found guilty in 2004 of killing wolves while working with a state predator control program near McGrath, according to an Anchorage Daily News article from the time. He filed for post-conviction relief in 2010.
Haeg alleges widespread judicial corruption in how his case was — and continues to be — handled. He runs the website Alaska – State of Corruption, where he outlines his accusations. He said Tuesday that the issues he wishes to raise have repeatedly been denied by the court.
"It hurt getting tased or whatever. I would do it a thousand more times to get an evidentiary hearing," Haeg said.
The judge in Monday's hearing was attempting to set a date for Haeg to file a brief when Haeg began raising some of his allegations of corruption, though that was not the hearing's purpose. The judge ended the hearing, and both Haeg and the crowd said they would stay as officers asked them to leave.
"It's my hearing, I paid my 13-year price," Haeg said from Kenai on Tuesday.
In the video, officers talk to Haeg about a Feb. 2 date. That's the date his next brief is due to court, Haeg said. The tension escalates in the video, and Haeg begins yelling, reading from a list of allegations.
"I'm putting my f—ing foot down because I have to," Haeg yells.
He refuses to leave, and three officers grab him. A fourth one pulls out a Taser and appears to tase Haeg's leg. Haeg is pushed to the floor in the middle of the courtroom. His daughter can be heard yelling and sobbing for them to stop, and members of the crowd then join in, yelling at the officers.
As of Tuesday evening, the video had more than 300,000 views on Facebook.
Authorities took Haeg to a holding cell in the basement of the Nesbett Courthouse, and then to the Anchorage Correctional Complex, said Robert French, lieutenant supervisor of Anchorage Judicial Services.
Haeg was charged with disorderly conduct, according to troopers. Online records show that charging documents had not yet been filed Tuesday.
"I was proud that people were willing to stand up for the Constitution, but on no level did I want anybody to get hurt or any violence to take place," Haeg said of the disorderly conduct charge.
Haeg said he was tased around 10 times. He said, despite the pain, that the officers did a good job of making sure he didn't get seriously injured during the scuffle.
He was tased by a Judicial Services officer, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.
Judicial Services is a subdivision of the Alaska State Troopers. In Anchorage there are 24 such officers, who provide security for the court system and transport prisoners. They go through partial trooper academy training and have limited police powers outside the courthouse, performing tasks such as serving eviction notices, French said.
French wasn't in the room during the incident, but he said there were roughly 50 people in the courtroom audience, and more people who had spilled out into the hallway.
The crowd was "hostile" and "wound up," French said.
French wasn't sure how many officers responded. Originally, four officers were assigned to the room, two of whom were trooper sergeants, he said.
Seven Anchorage Police Department officers were called in to assist with crowd control, spokeswoman Renee Oistad wrote in an email.
French was called in to help, but by the time he arrived, things had settled down, he said.
French declined to say whether the use of force against Haeg was justified or whether standard procedure was followed, citing the ongoing use-of-force review.
"I really can't give you an opinion on it," French said of the video. "The case is not done yet and the use-of-force report is not done."
Every time there's a use of force, the Department of Public Safety does a review of the incident, called a "blue team" internally, French said.
Use-of-force reports aren't available to the public, French said, even by records request.
But depending on the circumstance, sometimes the findings are released, Peters said. For instance, if an officer is found to have done something criminally and is charged, then there would be a public record of the findings.
It's unclear at what point when, or if, the findings involving Haeg will be made available, Peters said.
Separately, the police report would be completed "soon," perhaps within a week, Haeg said, and would be available via public records request.
French didn't know how often officers used force against people in a courthouse.
"It's infrequent, fortunately," French said. "Most of the issues we have we tend to have with the in-custody individuals."
Haeg said he continues to fight an uphill battle to prove his allegations.
"Uphill we go," Haeg said.