Can a Defendant Be Convicted of Aggravated Assault If He Unknowingly Assaults a Police Officer ?

In People v. Infelise, 32 Ill. App. 3d 224, 336 N.E.2d 559 (1975) the defendant was convicted of aggravated assault of a police officer. The incident began when two off-duty police officers, dressed in T-shirts and shorts with handguns in their waistbands, observed several men in a car threaten a young woman. The officers followed the automobile, and confronted some of the men in front of the defendant's house, identifying themselves as police officers. The defendant (a 17-year-old immigrant who did not speak English very well) then went into the house, retrieved a gun, pointed it at the officers, and swore at them in Italian. When the defendant's mother told him (in Italian) that the men were police officers, he put the gun away and cooperated with the officers. The appellate court held that the State did not prove that the defendant knowingly assaulted a police officer.