Viral video of a court outburst puts focus on courtroom security


Fresno, California – It’s shocking video that’s being seen all over the country, an angry father lunges at Larry Nassar who abused his daughters and is arrested by courtroom officers. In the wake of those events in Michigan, we wanted to know how courtrooms being secured in Fresno County and what do the people who work in those courtrooms think about what happened in the video?   

Most people say the video from that Michigan courtroom is shocking, but people who work in the courtrooms here in Fresno County say they aren’t surprised. Both law enforcement and attorneys say dangers and outbursts in a courtroom are more common than you think.

Sergeant Chris Tullus works to secure courtrooms in Fresno County, he too has seen the video. 

“Well, that can happen anywhere. Given the special circumstances of that particular case they did have a lot of deputy sheriff’s in their courtroom which is appropriate given the amount of media attention it’s gotten,” said Sgt. Tullus.  

Sgt. Tullus says for major cases like the Kori Muhammad case with a lot of media attention and emotional families, extra security measures are put in place. 

“There will be a lot of deputy sheriffs in uniform posted around the courtroom and we’re trying to send a message when we do that not just to the suspect, but everyone in the audience saying “you know, we are here, let’s make it peaceful, respectful and everybody is going to be safe,” Sgt. Tullus said. 

In the viral video some of the closest people to the action were the criminal defense attorneys. Fresno attorney Amanda Moran says this video is a sad reality that attorneys working in a courtroom often face risky situations. 

“Even as an attorney sometimes it feels a little intimidating to know there is a large group of people here who have the potential to do great harm and so the thought of something erupting and having to use those deputies to stop that,” said Moran.  

Both courtroom law enforcement and attorneys say the safest courtrooms are the result of strong directions and leadership from the judge. 
“With the witnesses, the attorneys, whoever happens to be involved that will have a huge impact on the way even the people in the gallery will respond,” said Moran.

There are several layers of security at the Fresno County Courthouse starting with the metal detector at the front door, security in the hallways, and of course inside the courtrooms. The goal is for justice to be served safely. 

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