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Man jailed after struggle with Petaluma police officer

An Escondido man was arrested Monday night after fighting with and reaching for the gun of an officer trying to arrest him, Petaluma police said.

Police encountered the man at Pete's Henny Penny Restaurant on Old Redwood Highway, where someone had reported that the man was bothering customers and under the influence of alcohol, said Sgt. Ken Savano, referencing the officer's report.

The officer found the man, who later identified himself as Raul Tovar-Aldama, 27, sitting on a stool at the restaurant's counter, Savano said.

When the man saw the officer, he left the building, Savano said.

The officer followed him outside and found him urinating next to the building, according to the report.

The officer told the man to sit down, but instead the man turned away and headed back into the restaurant. The officer followed him in, then back out, at which point the man began to run through the parking lot, Savano said.

The officer chased the suspect, and when he got within several feet, the man turned and struck a fighting stance, with fists clenched, Savano said.

He took a swing at the officer, Savano said, and a struggle ensued, with the officer trying to defend himself and get control of the man. The man continued to try to hurt the officer, reaching for his groin and later his gun holster, Savano said.

The officer believed the man was trying to take his gun, so in defense he subdued him using a carotid restraint hold, which causes a person to pass out, Savano said.

“It sounds like the officer did a very good job of not getting hurt and not hurting the suspect,” Savano said.

Then the officer called for medics and arrested the man for felony resisting arrest with force and battery of a police officer. He was also arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession after the officer found a bag with what police suspect is a 1/2 gram of cocaine. The man was medically cleared at Petaluma Valley Hospital then taken to the Sonoma County Jail.

On Tuesday morning, he was in booking pending confirmation of his identity, held on $10,000 bail.

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