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DENTIST PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO ASSAULTING POLICEMAN

A Logan dentist, accused of hitting a police officer who wouldn't let him pray in the street, has pleaded not guilty to a felony assault charge.

Joseph M. Hansen, 60, entered his plea Monday in 1st District Court.According to police reports and testimony at a preliminary hearing, police officers Jeff Curtis and Brian Low stopped Hansen in March after he allegedly failed to signal a left turn.

When Curtis asked for his driver's license and vehicle registration, Hansen asked if he could pray about it first. Curtis agreed and Hansen knelt in the middle of the traffic lane and began praying aloud, police said.

The officers, who directed traffic around Hansen during the five-minute prayer, testified that twice they asked him to move because he was creating a traffic hazard. But Hansen responded by praying again and louder, police said.

When the officers placed Hansen under arrest for disorderly conduct, police said, he allegedly swung his arm and hit Curtis in the head.