Grazin’ in the grass

Friday, early Friday, real early Friday, 2:51 a.m., May 26, police were called to the intersection of Front Street and Washington Avenue about a man lying in the grass next to the road. The officer arrived and, yes, there was a man, asleep, lying in the grass by the roadside.

The officer spoke, then shouted, to the man, calling for him to wake up. The man did not. The officer shook the man "numerous times to wake him up" and he finally came-to, however being seemingly disoriented, per the report.

And yes, dear reader, the officer noted right about here that fabled 3 a.m. "odor of intoxicants" upon the setting. The officer asked the man to stand, but the man could not, then to sit up, which the man did, but only briefly until he fell over again. The officer, of course, arrested the 48-year-old man for public intoxication and, having to help the man walk, loaded him into the patrol car for the ride downtown. The man, on the way, in yet another phase of this event, began banging and kicking the inside of the patrol car while cursing at the officer on their way to the jail, where he was turned over to jail staff.

The man would not cooperate for booking photos, the report concluded.

Cuttin’ a sawth

It was early Saturday morning, those rare hours, just after 3 a.m., May 27, when police were called to a store on Old Morrilton Highway. A man there, police were told, refused to leave the store.

The reporting officer arrived and spoke with the man and woman, the store owners (both of Middle-Eastern descent; this will matter shortly). The man explained they were both behind the counter discussing what needed to be ordered for the store, while a man was in the store shopping. In the course of the conversation, the store owner explained to the officer, the discussion turned to the need to purchase toilet paper to re-stock the bathrooms. With this the customer, a black man, became angry and accused the man’s wife of calling him "Punta," he told the officer, the report stated.

The man and his wife both, being the store owners, explained to the man he had heard them wrong, that they had been talking about paper. The man did not accept their explanation, they told the officer, and he began to "create a scene," per the report. As a component of this, the man walked toward the counter aggressively as if he was going to punch the man. He left, however, as the police car drew close, and was gone when the officer arrived. He left in a small green car, the officer was told, which he reported. They did not know the make of car, and were not able to get a license number. The male owner did give the officer a photo of the man, taken by the store’s security system.

It would have ended there, were there not another call for police 30 minutes later. A car had crashed at the Siebenmorgan and Harkrider roundabout and the driver had run away. He was caught quickly, and was taken to jail. Of the three officers who responded to the crash, one was the officer who had taken the report from the store owners, and recognized the man captured as the one who had been pictured by the store’s camera.

Of the three officers, one, not the one who had been at the store, was trained for DUI recognition and met the man at jail at the so-called Sally Port where prisoners are brought in.

("Sally port" is an old term, originally used by sailors in the 1600s to describe a sort of dock where sailors could be picked up if their ship was anchored off shore. Since then it has come to mean a secure entryway to a fortification or prison. A "sally" is from a Latin word for a type of harassment counter-defense against attackers, and a "port" being a safe passage space.)

The officer noted,upon meeting the classic signs, the watery eyes, bloodshot and glassy, the swaying while afoot, and, sure, of course, the "odor of intoxicants" from the man’s breath. Thus began the usual steps, beginning with the man being given his rights.

"This was done with great difficulty," the officer reported, "seeing that no matter how many times I attempted to ready Mr. [name] his rights, he refused to listen. It was obvious that Mr. [name] knew/understood what I was saying and was attempting to either stall or just be difficult. I believe this because of how he would respond to my questions (winking, laughing, and talking off subject). It was not until I informed Mr. [name] that he would be charged with refusal to submit to a chemical test that he claimed to listen."

"It was at this times Mr. [name] begged me to read his rights again and agreed to listen," the officer reported, the man signing that he understood his rights after this final exchange.

Then the man refused to take the breath test, to which the officer told him he was being cited for refusing to submit to a chemical test.

The officer called the city attorney, who called a judge, who got permission via search warrant to draw the man’s blood. As the field sobriety tests were still required here, the officer had the man do the usual, beginning with the nystagmus test of eyes following a finger.

Meanwhile an officer arrived with the signed warrant for the blood test, and here the man, 35, began screaming at the officer, cursing, and telling the officer he couldn’t be taken to jail, the report stated. It was handcuffs time but the man wrestled as other officers joined to get the man in cuffs, then doing so. All this in mind, a second officer joined the reporting officer for the trip to the hospital for a blood draw. The man was uncooperative (how so the report did not state) and the technician at the hospital was not able to get a useable sample. The man continued to refuse to cooperate and was cited for interfering with governmental operations.

With the refusal to submit and interfering, the was also criminally trespassed from the store. His car was towed.