Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – All was calm, all was relatively bright under a 59 percent waning gibbous moon New year’s Eve 2015/2016. That is, until a man unlikely to be described with either of those first two terms chugged furtively down the alley connecting H Street to I Street.
His uncertain journey was soon interrupted amid flashing colored lights and at least one portable rural-electrification device, fortunately unused.
There, on the pavement of I Street, was where the first arrest of the night took place, with an as-yet unidentified man being subdued, debriefed and prepared for a trip to the Pink House.
The man was first overheard “whooping and hollering” outside the Open Door Clinic on 10th Street, according to Sgt. Keith Altizer. He allegedly charged the officer, then fled down H Street.
Pursuing officers picked up a Leatherman multi-tool the man had flung aside, according to APD Watch Commander Sgt. Ron Sligh. The instrument’s diminutive knife blade had been extended but never used.
The suspect ran at an irregular trajectory down the alley, blundered around the corner headed south On I Street and fell immediately into the waiting arms of APD personnel, intercepted within seconds from all sides by officers on foot and in police cars. He offered no resistance, and dropped to the pavement with hands extended behind his back under gleaming headlights.
Officer Audrey Sterrett held the man at taser point as he was cuffed, then interviewed and prepared for transport to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. The taser was not deployed or activated. He was arrested on charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest.
APD is making its presence known downtown, mingling and meandering about the shadowy byways, but not acting as a semi-paramilitary occupation force, which never goes over very well with the public. Officers are aware of events at regional venues that are drawing away celebrants, but expect surges of revelry as midnight approaches and when the bars close at 2 a.m.
As with last year, the Plaza is un-barricaded. The city’s McKinley-encircling portable steel sets of bars, still used every Halloween, were last deployed on a New Year’s Eve in 2013/14.
The barricades were mistakenly set out in loose formation around the center statue area by city Parks Dept. workers Thursday morning, but had been recalled by noon. At present, the controversial statue is protected only by a frosty wooden chair of unknown provenance.