Police: Man arrested after shoving, running from trooper during traffic stop

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PITTSFIELD — A city man accused of shoving a state trooper after a traffic stop Wednesday is also facing drug charges.

James W. Pierson 24, is being held without bail, pending a dangerousness hearing next week on charges including cocaine trafficking, and assault and battery on a police officer.

Pierson was pulled over in Adams about 5:45 p.m. while driving a rental car with Connecticut plates, according to court files. His name was not on the rental agreement, and the person who had rented the car was not in it, police said.

According to a police report, Pierson made "extra effort" to keep something concealed in his pocket while retrieving his identification. Police believed those efforts were consistent with someone trying conceal a weapon or contraband.

A search of Pierson during that stop found what police estimated was several hundred dollars, but no other evidence. Pierson said he'd earned the money painting. He was issued a summons to appear in court on a charge of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

About two-and-a-half-hours later, a vehicle in which Pierson was the front seat passenger was pulled over on Bradford Street in Pittsfield. According to a police report, a background check showed Pierson had a 2016 conviction for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute.

Once out of the car, Pierson pushed his shoulder into a trooper's chest before running west on Bradford Street, police said. Troopers gave chase, and Pierson reportedly ignored their orders to stop.

He reached the backyard of a Robbins Avenue home and attempted to climb over a fence, but was grabbed by one of the troopers and taken to the ground.

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He continued to resist officers while they placed him in handcuffs, police said. According to the report, he told them: "This is the second time you guys are stopping me. You guys are harassing me. I was afraid."

Pierson was carrying $413 cash, but no drugs or other contraband.

Police said they went back along the route of the foot chase and, about five feet away from the fence where the chase ended, found a plastic bag containing what appeared to be cocaine.

Troopers had a "strong belief" during the foot chase that Pierson tossed drugs or other evidence, based on his prior record and that he ran from a motor vehicle stop.

Pierson denied carrying any contraband and tossing any evidence.

Police said the weight of the cocaine was about 21 grams. Carrying more than 18 grams is considered trafficking in Massachusetts.

Pierson posted $2,500 bail and appeared at his Friday arraignment in Central Berkshire District Court before Judge Mark Pasquariello. He has pleaded not guilty to trafficking in cocaine between 18 and 36 grams, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Pierson was immediately taken into custody following that arraignment after Pasquariello granted the state's motion for an April 24 dangerousness hearing and is being held without the right to bail until then.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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