Reversal tosses Kokomo officer’s stalking protective order

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A Kokomo police officer lost her protective order against a man she alleged was stalking her after the Indiana Court of Appeals found there was insufficient evidence to support the claims.

Kokomo police officer T.K. was granted a protective order against C.S. after she alleged to have encountered him three times while he had a pending criminal case against him for ‘intimidation, stalking and harassment’ in which T.K. was the alleged victim.

T.K. first alleged C.S. was stalking her when he entered a Panera Bread restaurant while she was eating dinner there with her mother. Then, T.K. alleged that as she was leaving a nearby store at a later date, she observed C.S. standing on top of a U-Haul truck in the parking lot of a U-Haul rental location, videotaping her. C.S. contended that he was asked by the U-Haul regional manager to make some repairs to a truck, and was taking photos of the damage. 

On a third occasion, T.K. alleged that while she was exiting the post office, C.S. rushed up behind her in an aggressive fashion that caused her to be afraid. In all three instances, T.K. argued that C.S. was familiar with her police car, which was present at each encounter.

However, the appellate court reversed the grant of the protective order when it found that there was insufficient evidence to support stalking.

In the first encounter, the appellate court noted that although C.S. entered the same restaurant while T.K. was eating there, he did not approach her and left as soon as he received his food. It further found that despite C.S.’s familiarity with her patrol car, T.K. could not prove C.S. had “knowingly or intentionally follow[ed] or pursu[ed]” her into the restaurant.

Likewise, in the second encounter, the appellate court found that T.K. could not prove C.S. had intentionally followed her when she saw him on top of a U-Haul. It noted that T.K. was the one to stop her vehicle by the U-Haul truck and tell C.S. that she saw he was videotaping her.

“To the contrary, the evidence reveals that C.S.’s presence was requested by U-Haul, that C.S. was on top of the U-Haul truck to take pictures of damage, and that T.K. approached C.S., not the other way around,” Judge Margret G. Robb wrote for the court. 

Although the appellate court did find sufficient evidence that C.S. made impermissible contact with T.S. at the post office when he “rushed up behind her in an aggressive fashion,” causing her to be afraid, it ultimately concluded that a single incident of harassment was insufficient to support a finding of stalking.

“We therefore conclude C.S. has demonstrated prima facie error and the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of stalking and the issuance of an order for protection,” Robb concluded in C.S. v. T.K.,18A-PO 1566.

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