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Last weekend, Arizona couple Eric Cordova and Ashley Jordan tied the knot.
Hours after their nuptials, however, the newlyweds were hauled off in handcuffs, along with family and friends from their wedding party for allegedly starting a mass brawl, which injured two police officers, and ended with the groom being tased.
The Chino Valley bride and groom were charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, rioting, and disorderly conduct. Cordova, who was tased by police in the incident, was also charged with resisting arrest. Four men from the couple’s entourage were also booked in the incident, including Ernest Hernandez, 39, Dustin Trout, 31, Aaron Cordova, 28, and Amos Puckett, 25. Two others connected to the wedding party were dealt misdemeanor citations in the brawl that reportedly took “six or seven” police officers to contain, according to Lt. Jon Brambila, a spokesperson for Prescott Police Department.
Authorities were called to an area of downtown Prescott, Arizona commonly referred to as Whiskey Row, around 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 after dispatchers had received reports that a bar employee had been assaulted by a “disorderly female who was wearing a wedding dress,” Brambila said.
When an officer arrived on scene he located the bride and wedding party roughly one block away. The group, police said, appeared to be intoxicated and in the midst of an argument. When the lone cop approached the group, all hell broke loose, police said.
“Things started to escalate and the group became very verbally aggressive,” Brambila said.
The groom, Cordova, particularly took offense to the officer’s intervention into their group’s dispute, according to Brambila.
“[He] became very verbally aggressive towards the officers and took up a fighting posture as if he was going to physically assault the officer,” Brambila said. “Fearing that he was going to be assaulted, the officer attempted to restrain Cordova, who at that point began to actively result arrest.”
Things continued to escalate as the newly married man’s friends allegedly sprang to his rescue.
“Several of the people that were in this group began assaulting the officer by trying to grab the officer and trying to pull him off of Cordova and try to hinder the arrest.”
By this time, several officers had arrived on scene. The bride, too, apparently jumped into the tussle, allegedly striking an officer in the face, leaving his cheek “red and swollen.” Jordan later told investigators it was an accident.
“Everyone had been drinking that night and that the whole situation was crazy,” the newlywed told police, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
Police said the bride even taunted arresting officers.
“Are you hurt officer?” the 30-year-old bride asked an officer transporting her to booking.
“Are you going to call your mommy?”
She allegedly — and repeatedly — referred to the officer as “little cop.” Her spouse, Cordova, also reportedly screamed various vulgar profanities at police during the encounter.
Puckett, a cousin of the bride, who was entangled in the ruckus, as well, also reportedly told arresting officers, “My dad is a judge, I’ll have your badge.”
Brambila, the Prescott police spokesperson, said while mass brawls in the drinking district of downtown Prescott — a small city about 100 miles northwest of Phoenix — are rare, he explained that a wedding party riot is “above and beyond” anything he’s ever encountered in his 20 years of law enforcement.
Two officers reportedly sustained minor injuries in the fray.
But the bride’s cousin, Puckett, relayed a very different narrative from that of police. He claimed the incident was an example of police brutality. He also denied invoking his father's title to threaten police, and said his dad isn't a judge.
"It’s small town Arizona, these cops are corrupt,” Amos told Oxygen.com.
“These police officers exercised their very brutal force on a group of non-threatening wedding party-goers," he added. "They targeted us and they went for it and they just unleashed with no remorse, no respect, no compassion, no empathy."
The 25-year-old admitted the group may had been drinking but said they hadn't done anything wrong when police approached them. He alleged that police knocked one of his friends unconscious in the frantic scuffle — and that he didn’t receive immediate medical attention.
“His head bounced like a bowling ball,” Puckett described.
Further, Puckett claimed that when he, the groom, and the rest of the wedding party were photographed for mugshots, authorities made them change into red jumpsuits. But for his cousin, Jordan, he said, they paraded her through the booking area and photographed the bride in her wedding dress for dramatic effect.
“Her wedding day was completely ruined,” he explained. “These police officers were getting a rise out of it. They thought it was so comical. They loved it, they were eating it up.”
Dwight D'Evelyn, a spokesperson for Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, was unable to offer a specific explanation as to why the bride had been photographed in her wedding dress, while the other three suspects in the brawl, including her husband, were pictured in red jumpsuits. However, he did say it was often typical for suspects to be photographed in their street clothes and noted that his department might have been short-staffed that night.
"A combination of limited female staff and access to an immediate holding area delayed the change to jail clothing, and she was photographed prior to doing so," D'Evelyn told Oxygen.com.
He denied Jordan was put on display, as Cordova's party alleged.
Meanwhile, Brambila, the Prescott police spokesperson, scoffed at Puckett's police brutality accusations.
“The people in this particular situation dictated the outcome of this by resisting officers,” he said. “Our officers responded, conducted themselves in a professional manner, used the appropriate amount of force to take people into custody. Those that needed any type of medical treatment were provided medical treatment.”
Brambila noted that Cordova has one past aggravated assault charge that was later pleaded down to a misdemeanor.
Cordova and Jordan, who have since been released, have retained a public defender. Their first court date is scheduled for Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. Oxygen.com was unable to reach the couple for comment.
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