I had several months under my belt as a cop and turned in the graveyard shift for the faster paced swing shift. During swing shift hours, unlike those on graves, the streets are full of decent hard working people along with the occasional “dirt bag”.
My job, as far as I am concerned, is to sift through the decent people to find the ones who need officer intervention. My way of sifting through “Joe Hardworker” to get to “Joe Dirtbag” was by conducting traffic and pedestrian stops.
On one such occasion, I had the opportunity to contact someone riding a dirt bike on a public street without a license plate.
I positioned my patrol car directly behind the motorcycle and flipped on the overhead lights and after a moment of noncompliance I hit a couple quick siren bursts to get the rider’s attention. After following the rider for a minute or two with no change of behavior, I figured that he was debating whether to stop or flee.
He chose the latter!
As soon as we approached 119 Ave at Cocopah Cir the suspect opened up the throttle and like a jackrabbit in the desert, he sped down the street, made a sharp turn, and was out of sight.
I cruised up to Joblanca Rd, where the suspect was last seen, and he was gone. I rolled down my windows and could hear nothing; no speeding motorcycle, no crash, and no pedestrians to point him out. He was gone!
I slowly rolled through the neighborhood with the hope of seeing an open garage, possibly with a dirt bike inside, but I was met with negative findings.
I crept past the last house in the neighborhood and saw a woman in the front yard. With my last effort in finding the suspect I asked her, knowing very well that the answer was no, if she had seen anyone speeding through on a motorcycle. The female said, to my delight, that she saw a motorcycle enter a home on the north side of Pima St, just west of 119 Dr.
I gave a quick thank you as I tried to suppress my joy, but failed to do so, as my engine roared the three houses down I needed to travel. I parked my car in the street and was halfway up the driveway before I realized it.
I knocked on the front door and played it cool as a white male subject, wearing the same color shirt as my suspect, answered the door. I was overcome with the smell of alcohol as the subject opened the door and stepped outside.
I asked the subject, later identified as John, if he had been riding a motorcycle. John, while standing in the driveway, reminded me of a teeter totter going back and forth, as he slurred the word “no”. The stench of his breath caused me to take a half step back as I asked him how much he had to drink. John brought the teeter totter to a halt as he leaned against the wall and spewed out the words, “only a twelve pack.” With the subject appearing quite young, I asked him how old he was. He replied, “ninete…twenty one.”
He stalled as he told me his birthday, which to no surprise made him 19 years old, not old enough to drink.
I told John to walk with me to my patrol car as I pulled out my citation book. I started filling out a ticket at the same time mentally noting that John became noticeably nervous. He stepped backwards and started looking around. John stopped answering my questions regarding his full name and continually looked around as he kept asking why I was giving him a ticket.
I threw the cite book back into the patrol car. I had been in a few foot chases to know when someone is giving all the signs of “I’m about to run”.
I grabbed a hold of John’s right wrist as I told him to turn around. John twisted his weasely hand out of mine and started running. The chase was on!
I expected John to run so I was right behind him stride for stride as he awkwardly ran down the street toward a brick wall. I called out over the radio that I was in a foot pursuit and finished just in time to catch John half way up the brick wall.
Unfortunately, John had grabbed onto an adjacent wall and like a leach he would not let go. Holding on to John’s legs, I gave a couple of tugs with no success. With my last effort of playing nicely, I grabbed onto Johns pants, at his waist, and braced both my feet against the wall. With a heavy heave on John’s pants he still did not budge. I was surprised, though, how easily his pants slipped down his legs and onto the ground. Then I noticed it was not just his pants, it was his pants, underwear, socks and shoes. I grabbed a hold of what I had left, John’s naked legs.
John tried pulling his half naked body over the wall again but I held onto his legs and ankles. I half wondered, "How am I to explain this precarious situation to the news who is sure to be videoing this situation?". I gave John one last pull and he refused to budge.
Realizing that John’s manhood was securely resting on top of a brick wall, I came up with what I now call the cheese grater method, I rocked John’s legs back and forth on top of the fence about ten times and was astounded at his motivation stay put. I assume that most people by now would have given up, but not John in his drunken stupor.
I held on to John’s legs as my backup, “Fireballs” Debora, as she would later be known, jumped out of her car. Debora opened the gate and told John to let go of the wall. Debora told him that if he did not let go she would spray him with OC, better known as pepper spray.
John did not listen and Fireballs went to town with the OC. John was covered in OC like a freshly painted car in an auto body shop. Thinking that John would now comply, I released his legs. Like a half naked salamander, John slithered over the wall and out of sight as soon as I let go.
Knowing that several officer’s had arrived in the area and Half Naked John would not get away, I backed out and help set up a perimeter. A K9 unit was summoned and I took a position on the west side.
A moment or two passed when all of a sudden I saw a side gate open and saw an angry male subject holding a golf club in the air yelling. (The man later stated that he was quite upset when he saw a half naked man hiding in his back yard). I saw John try to hunker down behind a bush as he was shooed out of the backyard at golfclub point. John's attempt at hiding was no better then a 3-year-old playing hind-and-seek, thinking that you are not going to find him because his eyes are closed.
I told John that I could see him and he slowly stood up and said, “Okay, okay, you got me.” I told John that he was under arrest and once again, he started running. With John obviously not able to hide a weapon in his birthday suite I willingly gave chase and quickly brought him to the ground.
John was promptly hand cuffed and the chase was over.
And on queue, like a punch line at the end of a joke, John said, “Can I get up, my balls are burning!”
If you are going to run and get pepper sprayed by the police, make sure you are wearing clothes.