(This is an actual event that occurred when I was a police officer, but I changed names and some identifying details to protect the not-so-innocent)
It was a routine afternoon working second shift in this small town of 2,000 people, as I received the call to report to the social services office for someone that refused to leave when asked. There is a law that makes refusing to leave public (i.e. government) property when asked to do so. The static of the radio went off, as I radioed back acknowledging that I would be enroute, “10-4, I’m on my way.”
I had already been a police officer for a year and encountered a lot of different things for such a small town, but I had no idea that I was about to be in the fight of my life. I pulled down the alley where the entrance to the social services office was located and was approached by the division manager and she told me, “Ernest Blalock is refusing to leave after we asked him to. He is demanding to receive his medication, but won’t fill out the paperwork to get it done. He is being belligerent and threatening staff.” No, sooner, did she tell me this, then he came out and saw me in the patrol car. He waved, with a single, middle finger and stood in the middle of the alley.
I rolled my eyes, as I exited the patrol vehicle and approached Earnest and asked, “What’s the problem?” But thinking to myself, Is this guy going to be difficult? All I want to do is solve an issue with some happiness for everyone involved.
“Fuck you, chota!”, came the romantic offer and calling out the Spanish slang for my position. I asked him to show me his hands, to make sure he had no weapons as I approached. I already had probable cause on the public trespassing issue to make an arrest, and now the disorderly conduct was another offense. When I got close, he ran at me and shoved me over. Fucker! Why does everything have to resort to this, all I wanted was to hear his side of the story. He jumped on a bicycle and headed down the alley as fast as he could.
I got up, ran to the patrol unit and radioed in that I was pursuing the suspect, “Patrol 6, I’m pursuing him southbound towards 4th…” The dispatch copied and alerted me that the other cops in town were in court today and I probably wasn’t going to get back up. And everyone assumes this little town is Mayberry R F Fucking D…, I thought as I pursued him. He only went two blocks and I pulled into the drive at an abandoned lot and radioed in my location.
I got out of the car, and Blalock was standing there, after throwing his bike on the ground. “What the fuck do you want?”, he challenged.
“What’s going on back there?”, I asked, closing the gap between us, since it seemed like he calmed a little, I didn’t want to approach it so aggressively. I had already decided I was going to arrest him for the public trespass and assaulting a peace officer. But I was hoping to de-escalate the violence.
“Those fuckers won’t give me my medicine.I need that shit”, he said and I closed in and was close enough to pounce, if needed.
I explained to him, “Look, I’m not sure what happened, but you didn’t give me the chance to ask. you’re under arrest.” And as I said that, I grabbed one of his wrists, and tried to turn him around to secure his hands in handcuffs. Before I could get the second hand, however, he jumped and tackled me to the ground. Fuck, this wiry little bastard is strong, I thought as I began trying to wrestle with him.
I was trying to grab his hands, as he was beginning to writhe out of my grip. He would turn one way, I would try and meet the challenge, by blocking his punches. I’d grab a hand, and he would maneuver his legs in a way that would wiggle out of my grasp. We were rolling on the ground, and I could hear dispatch trying to raise me on the radio. By this time, my radio became dislodged in the fight. I was fighting to maintain control of his hands, while he would try and knee me in the face. And then I felt it.
During the grappling, me trying to block hands and feet, the tangling of arms and legs, I felt a tug at my holster. Mother-Fucker, he’s trying to get my gun! The panic and fear of the situation began to hit me. This was no longer a fight to arrest the man, it just became a fight to live. At this moment, I took my right hand, my dominat hand and shoved it right on top of my firearm, to prevent it from getting yanked out by him. That left me to defend myself with my legs and my left hand. We were positioned with us laying on our sides, his head and hands down near my waist and my face staring right at his groin. I did what I felt I had to do, and began striking his groin with my left hand.
Thwump! Thwump! Thwump! Thwump! Thwump!
I hit him there over and over. He was still trying to yank my pistol out of its holseter and it was taking every ounce of strength for me to keep it there. I had already wrapped my legs around his head, to try and lock him down and prevent him from moving and I continued to hit his dick. Eventually, he gasped for air, and I found my opportunity to jump on top of him. We had been fighting like this for a good ten minutes and I could hear the dispatcher radioing for other law enforcement agencies to get help, but this small town was so far from everything, my closest help was 30 minutes away. But having my chance, I was able to climb on top of him and yank both of his arms behind him. Unfortunately, by this time, my handcuffs were already away from me and I knew, if I disengaged, he would either run or take the chance to hurt me. But I sat on his lower back, kept me legs on top of his legs and held his arms in place, as I heard the dispatcher say he was on his way to me.
It was just a few minutes when the dispatcher arrived and grabbed my handcuffs. I placed them on Blalock, who had submitted by this point. Now that there were two people there, he seemed less likely to fight – or he was just tired from the 10-15 minute “soiree” we just had. I put him in the patrol unit and transported him to the police department to book him and fill out the paperwork to transport him to the country jail. By this time, my chief had gotten back from court and was calling the district attorney to find out about charges for Blalock.
I finished his custody paperwork and received a signed warrantless arrest affidavit to have him placed into the county jail until he was advised of his charges. The chief called me into his office, so I escorted Blalock to the department holding cell.
“Let him go…” the chief said.
My jaw dropped, “What?!?!”
The chief explained, “Let him go. The D.A. is not going to charge him, because he has mental health issues. That’s what he was trying to get at the social services office.”
I was floored, “Chief”, I continued with the plea I was planning, “I can accept not charging him, that makes perfect sense; but we can’t let him go, he’s a danger to society, he’s a danger to himself. Can’t we get a mental health hold on him? We can take him to the state hospital for a mental health hold…?”
The chief shook his head and said, “No. The town says we are operating over budget right now and I won’t authorize that transport…” The state mental hospital was 3 hours away.
I couldn’t believe it. If the guy is mentally unstable, do I need to worry? I mean this town is small, and it’s not like it’s a secret where any of us live, I thought to myself and then expressed, “Chief, just so you are aware, I respectfully disagree with this decision and I will include my protest in the report I write. Unfortunately, I don’t think the town will be able to afford a lawsuit either, if anything happens, and I think this is the wrong decision”.
I wrote the report. I still have it. I have never gotten rid of it. I haven’t looked at it in years, so I’m not even sure if it’s ever been lost or if it’s in the same cabinet I have kept all of the reports I felt were litigious in nature. I don’t even know what happened to this guy. My former chief has long since passed away; he was even implicated in some misuse of department funds at one time – nothing outright illegal, but certainly lacked fair ethics. Thankfully, Blalock never took any sort of retaliation on myself, my family, other police officers, or any community member. But it was something that bothered me for a long time.