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Did lawmaker grab for cop's weapon?

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POSTED February 10, 2013 7:33 p.m.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Troubled Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks was arrested early Sunday in Las Vegas on suspicion of physically attacking a family member, then grabbing for an officer's weapon.

The arrest came only days after the North Las Vegas Democrat embarked on a three-week leave following a string of bizarre events that began with his Jan. 19 arrest for allegedly threatening Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.

Brooks, 40, was "agitated" and refused to obey officers' orders when they arrived to find him outside a home after responding to a report of a domestic dispute, according to police. Brooks is accused of fighting and grabbing for an officer's weapon as they tried to arrest him shortly after midnight.

Police spokesman Bill Cassell said the domestic dispute occurred inside the home, but he did not know the identity of the homeowner. No other details about the dispute were immediately available. Las Vegas police have a policy of not identifying the relationships of domestic dispute victims to suspects, Cassell said.

Brooks was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and obstructing a public officer. His bail was set at $4,000, and he awaits an initial court appearance Monday morning.

Brooks' attorney, Mitchell Posin, said he probably would talk to Brooks later Sunday.

"It would be premature for me to say anything until I hear what his side of the story is," Posin said.

The arrest came only days after the Assembly announced the unprecedented creation of a seven-member committee to investigate Brooks' behavior. Under the Nevada Constitution, lawmakers are given authority to judge the qualifications of their own members.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne, D-Las Vegas, who will chair the bipartisan panel, said Sunday that Brooks' arrests reflect ongoing concerns about his fitness to serve.

"It's unfortunate that these things are happening in Mr. Brooks' life, and I'm grateful no one was injured," he told The Associated Press. "I'm not a mental expert. But I would agree it has shown some signs that Mr. Brooks is dealing with problems that may distract from his ability to do the service he was elected to do."

Horne said he hopes the special committee can reach a decision "fairly quickly." The panel's choices range from no action to expelling Brooks from the Assembly.

Kirkpatrick said Brooks' arrests have been a distraction for the Legislature, but have not stopped lawmakers from moving forward with business.

"As far as Mr. Brooks, we have to move on," she said Sunday. "I'm a little bit shocked (by the latest arrest)."

Brooks, elected to his second term in November, has been under scrutiny since his arrest last month on suspicion of threatening Kirkpatrick over his committee assignments. According to police, he had a gun in his car and dozens of rounds of ammunition.

Days after posting bail, he was detained and hospitalized for a mental evaluation after a disturbance at his grandmother's house involving a sword.

Brooks has denied any wrongdoing.

Since the Legislature began last week, he has been escorted in the building by legislative police, who have not allowed anyone to ride in an elevator along with him.

"People have questioned some of the measures being taken in the Legislative Building, but I think those concerns should be put to rest," Horne said.

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