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California officer to face assault charge

Gavel (FILE)
Posted at 10:54 AM, Sep 08, 2021

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) — A former police officer in Northern California faces trial in November on misdemeanor charges of assaulting a Black woman last summer.

The case against Lance Novello, a 19-year veteran of the Petaluma Police Department, marks the city’s first public reckoning since the killing of George Floyd led to calls for greater law enforcement oversight, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported Thursday. It comes as a race and policing committee is scheduled to make recommendations to the Petaluma city council.

Sonoma County prosecutors alleged Novello assaulted Elizabeth Cole, a Black student at Santa Rosa Junior College, in July 2020. He was charged with battery and assault by a police officer and faces up to a year in jail, a $10,000 fine and the prospect of losing the right to bear arms if convicted.