Mr. Mopps Assault Suspect to Plead

Friday December 19, 2003

The woman police say assaulted three shoppers at Mr. Mopps Children’s Books last week and was then yanked from her car by officers and detained face-down on the pavement for approximately 20 minutes will face a judge today (Friday, Dec. 19). 

Tonita Wiemels, 40, of Albany—who has spent the past week in Santa Rita jail after failing to post $13,000 bail—will enter pleas on two counts of battery, three counts of battery on a police officer, one count of resisting arrest, and a probation violation, said Deputy Public Defender Ray Plumhoff. 

The case was referred to Plumhoff Thursday, who said he is not her attorney of record and does not know how she intends to plead or whether she will opt for a different attorney. He was not aware of the circumstances behind her probation. 

While inside the children’s store on the 1400 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way Thursday afternoon, Wiemels allegedly shoved one person, kicked another and smacked a third in the face with a box of Legos. 

Wiemels retreated to her car parked outside the store and, ignoring police demands to surrender, pulled out of her parking spot, bumping an officer in the process. Three patrol cars boxed her in further down the block, and officers ultimately smashed her drivers’ side window, pulled her from the car and detained her on the street. Police said their response was warranted because Wiemels struggled with them, though some witnesses questioned the degree of force employed by police.