Decatur Police officer uses baton to subdue man tripping on acid

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 4, 2015
Decatur Police Officers compare notes in the parking lot of Decatur High. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Decatur Police Officers compare notes in the parking lot of Decatur High. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

This story has been updated. 

A would-be burglar had a bad trip on Thursday night.

Decatur Police spokesperson Lt. Jennifer Ross said that at 10:06 p.m. on Sept. 3, officers got a call about a burglary in progress in the 200 block of South Columbia Drive. When they arrived they found the front glass door had been shattered, and noticed an open crawl space door during a check of the property.

Officers found a man there hiding under a piece of plastic. The officer told the man to show his hands, but the suspect refused. According to Ross, he put his hands under his body and said, “I got something for you.”

The officer dove on top of him and grabbed his right arm. The man kept saying, “I got something for you” while trying to put his arm back under his body. The officer repeatedly told the man go give him his hands, but the suspect wouldn’t obey.

“The officer used his issued ASP baton and delivered closed end strikes to the male’s right shoulder blade while continuing to give verbal commands,” Ross said. “The male finally proned himself flat on the ground and relinquished his right arm but then refused to relinquish his left arm to be placed in handcuffs. The officer utilized handcuffing and pain compliance techniques and was able to handcuff the male.”

During the struggle the suspect pooped on himself, according to the report. Officers found a folding pocket knife on him. The suspect couldn’t spell his last name, didn’t know where he was and didn’t know why he was interacting with police officers. The suspect then told the officer he was on acid. The tripping suspect took a trip to the hospital for evaluation of his possible drug overdose and to take a look at his shoulder.

A witness told officers they saw a man on the ground in front of the home. The witness then saw him go on the porch, and kick and throw rocks at the glass door. The witness saw the man enter the home. The owner was contacted and said “stated the male did not have authorization to be on the property.”

Ross said the suspect, a 28 year-old man Savannah man, was charged with criminal trespass and obstruction of an officer.

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  • Anna N Onamos

    Evaluated for overdose? Too bad our language and laws and societal expectations don’t allow for more subtle nuances and responses. Even though this sounds like a scary, alarming situation for both the homeowner and the officer, how about a little compassion for our cosmic traveller? He’s probably been places most of us can only imagine. In some societies these cosmic travelers might even be consulted as oracles or shamans. Instead of being beaten with a nightstick and then probably locked up. Maybe the officer could have figured out the cosmic traveler wasn’t completely present, and could have responded differently. Just second-guessing. I wasn’t there.

    • Jack

      Haha you’re dumb

      • Anna N Onamos

        Been places you haven’t.

        Have a point of view you should be jealous of!

        Ha ha.

        • Johnque Public

          I agree with you Anna. The move is afoot and active to replace the nation’s archaic and draconian drug laws w/ new laws that are humane, compassionate, and respectful of those who use drugs. It’s pretty obvious from the description here that this “criminal” who was apprehended was MOSTLY dangerous to himself. Not that he should have been on someone else’s property, and there is no excuse for breaking windows.

          But. A socidry is judged by the way it treats its most disadvantaged and vulnerable.

          There is probably NOT a MORE vulnerable time than when you are tripping. During that time the ego is stripped away and the psyche is at the mercy of the Self. The vulnerability and the opportunity to transcend all known stereotypes, all biases, all pre-conceived notions is at its peak.

          Those who have tripped will never see the world in the same way as those who have not.

          There have been great writings pruduced over the years by visionaries authors and scientists attesting to this.

          And we are approaching the day rapidly where drugs such as LSD, MDMA, and the misaligned cannabis will be seen for the values they have in helping us stay mentally healthy.

          • notapunk

            He probably should not have been alone. Back in the day, friends didn’t let friends trip without someone to watch over them. I’ve been babysitter to a cosmic traveler or two. Made me never want to try the stuff.

        • Will

          He smashed a door down and made threatening statements. What is defensible here? He is alive to resume his status as a “burden to society.”

    • Hans

      You ask for ‘compassion for the cosmic traveller’. I think the use of non-lethal force on a suspect who had already broken the law and was making clearly threatening statements required an enormous amount of compassion on the part of the officer. Not showing your hands, making threats, and reaching for potential weapons creates a scenario where lethal force becomes an option. Kudos to the officer for keeping his head and taking the correct action that resulted in the least harm to the suspect while still defusing the situation. This could have ended in the suspect’s death, and the officer would have been justified.

      I would suggest to any and all cosmic travellers that if you know you
      are going to lack personal responsibility after indulging, take
      responsibility prior and ensure you stay home and safe. A shaman would know the difference.

  • Eric

    Awesome headline.

    Glad to hear no one (besides the acidhead) was hurt and the police were able to subdue him.

    • Johnque Public

      Only thing awesome about this headline is that the man was ‘subdued’ by a baton rather than being shot by a service revolver.

      And really? An acidhead? Could very well have been his first trip.

      • Eric

        Way wah wah. I don’t give a damn if it’s his first trip or his 50th…still an acidhead. And I’m fine with whatever it takes to subdue him.

  • Let’s talk about…

    It sounds like this had the best possible outcome, given the circumstances. Lt. Ross took a huge risk in waiting to see whether this man was armed. He was hiding his arm behind his back and wouldn’t comply. He had broken into a house. She was brave and did the right thing, even if it meant a bit of “violence” with submission techniques and a baton.
    Kudos to Lt. Ross for handling the situation the way she did. Too many officers have the idea to “shoot first, ask questions later.” She had no way of knowing whether he was armed or not, and if he was tripping on acid, mentally ill, or just up to no good. They also did the right thing to get him medically evaluated, even if an overdose on acid is impossible, in my opinion it is best practice to have people who behave this way evaluated for drug overdose and/or mental illness.
    Cosmic traveller or not, acidhead or not, he was not complying and she did not know why or if he was a danger to her, himself, or others. She did the right thing and should be commended.

    • Just to clarify: Lt. Ross was not the responding officer. She is the DPD spokesperson.

      • Let’s talk about…

        Ok, then the responding officer(s). My bad for misreading the article 🙂

        • Just as easily could be my fault for not writing it more clearly. You’e not the only person who thought that. I went back and edited it a bit to make the roles more clear. Feedback is always useful.

          • Let’s talk about…

            Thanks, Dan. Your articles are always well-written and informative, not to mention timely. I admire your journalism and appreciate the contributions you make to our community. Thank you.

  • Kupe

    Reading the comments by Anna and Johnque make it sound like this gentleman had a sign saying he was tripping on acid that the officer could see. If you read the article the officer was not aware of the individual’s state until after he was handcuffed. Why don’t we applaud our officers rather than turning this into some rant about drug laws.

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