Giovanni Arana

An 18-year-old Reading man accused of assaulting a Bern Township police officer during a traffic stop was ordered held for court following a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Giovanni Arana was returned to Berks County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail to await further court action following the proceeding before District Judge Brian K. Strand in Bern Township.

Arana faces charges of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, driving without a license and driving an unregistered vehicle.

Arana of the 700 block of Gordon Street was arrested Jan. 1 after Officer Vincent Mazza pulled over Arana's car on Old Bernville Road about 2 p.m. 

According to Bern police:

Mazza saw a car with an expired inspection sticker on the windshield southbound on Old Bernville Road. He pulled the driver over at Ulrich Lane.

The driver, later identified as Arana, did not have any identification and gave the officer an incorrect date of birth so the officer was unable to obtain driver information from a PennDOT database.

The driver also said he didn’t know his Social Security number.

While talking to Arana, who had three passengers, Mazza detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car. He called for backup.

Bern Officer Joshua Santos arrived and watched the passengers while Mazza spoke to Arana.

He asked Arana to identify an object in his pocket and Arana refused. Fearing it could be a weapon, Mazza tried to search Arana, but Arana refused to be patted down.

Mazza ordered Arana to put his hands behind his back, but he refused and struggled with Mazza.

Meanwhile, two of the three passengers in the car began yelling and started to get out of the car, but Santos ordered them to get back.

Meanwhile, three other people who were in the area joined in shouting at police, who described the scene as chaotic.

Mazza ordered Arana to get on the ground and when he refused, Mazza forced him to the ground.

Arana threw two punches at Mazza's head and kicked him in the shoulder. Mazza eventually handcuffed Arana.

Before the incident was declared under control officers were dispatched from Wyomissing, and Spring, Lower Heidelberg and Muhlenberg townships as well as Northern Berks Regional.

No officers were injured, and Arana suffered minor cuts to his face.

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