About 100,000 people got on Youtube to see Cole Montalvo's arrest last year after he questioned street preacher Angela Cummings on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Four campus security personnel wrestled the biochemistry student to the ground on Nov. 14, 2013, after he crossed a perimeter marked by orange cones and told the fire-and-brimstone preacher, "If you're trying to spread the good word, maybe you shouldn't be telling everyone they're sinners." Campus police cited Montalvo for resisting arrest, inciting to riot, disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice.
The last of those charges, resisting arrest, was dismissed Monday afternoon -- provided Montalvo stays out of trouble with the law for the next six months.
Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern made that ruling after she cut short a bench trial just as Montalvo was going to take the stand after UTC police Sgt. Willie Trueitt ended his testimony.
Stern had a whispered conversation at the bench with Assistant District Attorney Brian Finlay and Montalvo's attorney, Franklin Chancey, of Cleveland, Tenn. She disappeared into her chambers for a 10-minute break, then called court to order and let Montalvo speak about the arrest. Video of it had been played and replayed on a screen in the courtroom, where about a dozen of Montalvo's family and friends came in a show of support.
"Looking at the video now, a year later, it's clear that better choices could have been made," Montalvo said.
Stern said, "Sometimes restraint is the better option."
Attorneys for both sides said afterward they were happy with the outcome.
"I'm pleased that he accepted responsibility," the assistant DA said.
Montalvo won't have any difficulty meeting the requirement to stay out of trouble for six months, his attorney said, after which he will seek to have the arrest cleared from his record. In January, charges of inciting to riot, disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice were dropped against Montalvo.
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