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Despite judge's concern over 'weak' case, prosecutors persisted

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 01:40:54-04

A Valley man spent the last two years in jail awaiting trial for felony gang charges — but that man’s defense was that he was never in a gang.

He was acquitted this week despite a judge telling prosecutors they had a weak case.

It was summer of 2020 when protests erupted over police misconduct. Glen Robertson was being arrested for an alleged hit-and-run.

“You want your body cam? Let’s go! Y’all want to be the next ones? Let’s go!” He can be heard screaming in a Phoenix police body camera recording.

He was angry and said this ”We can take these cuffs off and take it to the back street on some crip s---,” he said.

“Oh, what does that mean?” the officer responded.

For that comment, Robertson was charged with two felonies: assisting a criminal street gang and threatening and intimidating as a gang member.

On Monday, Robertson was acquitted of those felonies.

Criminal justice reform advocates questioned if it was right for prosecutors to pursue those felony gang charges in the first place.

A judge let the case go forward even as he expressed concerns two years ago in court recordings obtained by ABC15.

”It is perhaps the weakest trial case I have seen, and I think you should pass that on,” said a judge in July of 2020.

When we asked current county attorney Rachel Mitchell if there was ever any evidence Robertson had even been a gang member she said, “There’s a difference in one speaking their opinion and displeasure with the police, chanting black lives matter, and telling a cop you’re going to bring crip action against her. That is unacceptable. I totally accept the jury verdict in this situation, but people need to understand, people are going to take threats of gang retaliation against anybody, including our officers, seriously.”

Defense Attorney Will Knight have said he was relieved when the jury acquitted Robertson.

He said County Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell knows that having “egg on her face” because the county was unsuccessful to get a gang charge conviction against Robertson will “smack of her predecessor’s failures” and show she isn’t making changes to the top prosecuting office for one of the biggest counties in the county.

“All Glen Robertson did was make pop culture references and black culture references while wearing blue clothes,” he said.

To make matters worse, Knight said the prosecutors said in court last week that Robertson’s expert witness on gangs could be fired from his job with juvenile corrections if he testified.

The county attorney disputed the claim.

“I believe there was a misunderstanding. I do not think there was anything inappropriate or intentional on the part of the prosecutor after looking into it and speaking to the director,” said Mitchell.

Knight said what the county was doing was “essentially witness tampering.”

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said her investigation into those claims is over.

We’ve yet to hear from Robertson himself as he remains in jail pending DUI charges.