MONTPELIER, Vt. — The lawyer for a Vermont man arrested after scuffling with police who saw him drunk on the street and offered him a ride says the actions by officers were “just wrong.”

Newport police officers singled out John Karpoff because they knew he had a record and that he was poor, his attorney, Jill Jourdan, said Wednesday.

“It’s so infuriating to me,” said Jourdan. “Would they do this if he were, say, an off-duty law enforcement officer? The answer is no.”

Karpoff was arrested Saturday after police said he became combative while being searched. According to a police affidavit, Karpoff told the officers he was headed to the nearby home of a friend and he did not want a ride, but they insisted he had to be transported because they had made contact with him.

Karpoff is being treated unfairly, Jourdan said. “This was wrong,” she said.

Karpoff is being held for lack of $250 – 10 percent of his $2,500 bail – after a court appearance where he pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of disorderly conduct.

Orleans County State’s Attorney Alan Franklin said it was Karpoff’s actions after his encounter with police that led to his arrest, not walking drunk. “They were trying to help,” Franklin said.

Jourdan said that if police wanted to ensure Karpoff got home safely they could have driven around the block and checked on him.

“Perhaps they felt he would pass out in the snowbank and die,” she said. “It wasn’t 1 or 2 in the morning where if he planted in the snowbank nobody would see him.”