Student Charged with Trying to Kill Iowa City Cop Denied Bond Reduction

By Gregg Hennigan, Reporter

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A University of Iowa student charged with attempted murder for allegedly choking an Iowa City police officer failed Monday in his bid to have is jail bond reduced.

As a result, 20-year-old Branden L. Plummer of Urbandale will remain in jail for now, his attorney, Patrick Ingram said after the 12-minute hearing at the Johnson County Courthouse.

District Judge Paul Miller kept Plummer's bond at $100,000 cash only, saying it was necessary to ensure Plummer attended future court proceedings and to protect the public.

Plummer is accused of choking Sgt. Brian Krei, a 29-year-veteran of the Iowa City Police Department, in the early morning Nov. 18 after Krei stopped Plummer for obstructing traffic near the corner of Burlington and Linn streets.

Krei, who returned to duty soon after the attack, was choked, had his head slammed into the concrete and briefly lost consciousness, police said. A few bystanders helped stop the two-minute attack, and the suspect fled the scene.

Video and audio from Krei's squad car recorded part of the assault. The suspect's image also was captured when he entered a restaurant after the incident. See the video below.

A tip called into the Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers led authorities to Plummer, who was arrested Nov. 29 at his Iowa City home.

Plummer has been charged with attempted murder, a class B felony punishable by 25 years in prison.

Ingram said $100,000 cash was "excessive and senseless" for someone whose most serious prior charge is drunken driving and asked that the court reduce the amount or allow Plummer to post 10 percent of the total in order to be freed from jail.

Plummer was at the hearing, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with his hands and ankles shackled.

Ingram said UI officials had placed Plummer, who is in his third year of college, on an interim suspension but have indicated they would consider letting him finish the academic semester this month.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said he could not discuss specific cases. He emailed a UI policy that says students can ask for a review if they are suspended as an "interim sanction."

Richard Sills, from the Department of Correctional Services, testified that Plummer's bond should not be reduced "because of the violent nature and circumstances of the charge."

Assistant County Attorney Anne Lahey said part of what was concerning was that a student like Plummer could have such a "violent bent." She also said Krei thought he was going to die during the incident.

Miller said he based his ruling on the fact that it was a police officer who was attacked, the charge is a class B felony and that 11 days passed between the incident and the arrest and Plummer did not voluntarily turn himself in.

Ingram said after the hearing that Plummer would remain in jail for now, but he otherwise declined to comment.

Police Chief Sam Hargadine and several officers attended the hearing. Hargadine said afterward he was impressed by the show of support and the Nov. 18 incident, which started with someone being stopped for jaywalking, was "senseless."

He also said anyone who wondered whether the attempted murder charge was inflated because the victim was an officer needs only to listen to the audio recording of the attack to realize it was appropriate.

Hargadine also said he has personally thanked the witnesses who intervened. He singled out a young lady who on the video is heard aggressively trying to stop the attack.

"She showed some tenacity," Hargadine said. "I'd say somewhere, there's a proud set of parents."
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