Deputies’ Attempt to Assist Mental Health Turns Violent
On Saturday afternoon, Spokane County Deputies attempted to assist mental health professionals safely place an adult male in custody for a mental health hold. The male, who had been violent in the past, quickly became assaultive and violent with the deputies. With the much needed assistance of a Deer Park Ambulance (DPA) Medic and an additional deputy, the male was subdued.
On May 20, 2017, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Rollins and Deputy George Yingst arrived at a residence in the area of the 39800 block of North Newport Hwy. to assist mental health professionals with taking an adult male into custody for an evaluation. The male had been violent in the past and did not like law enforcement. An ambulance was requested to transport the male once he was safely restrained.
The male was contacted on the back deck, smoking a cigarette. He was calm but continued to say he wasn’t going anywhere and they had the wrong person. They gave a copy of the order to the male, who immediately put it down on the table, stating it wasn’t him. They walked the male back inside to contact the DPA crew who had just arrived. The male again stated he wasn’t going anywhere, and began walking down the hallway toward rooms that had not been searched. It was unknown if they contained weapons or if anyone was in them.
The male walked into a bedroom with little room to move around in due to the bed and a long dresser. The deputies continued to keep the male calm as they explained there was a court order and he needed to go with them. Deputy Rollins took hold of the male’s right arm but the male jerked his arm loose and yelled, “Don’t touch me!” This time both deputies tried to take control of the male’s arms but he continued to struggle, push and resist. With space very confined, they fell onto the mattress and then all three ended up on the floor with the male on top of one deputy and the second trying to restrain the male. Their commands to stop fighting were ignored and efforts to gain control of the male were unsuccessful.
DPA Medic Pfeffer came into the room and began helping the deputies with the out of control situation as they called for emergency assistance. Multiple commands to stop fighting where given but the male continued to fight. He was advised a Taser would be used if he didn’t stop but he continued fighting. A Taser was deployed but appeared to have little effect as the male violently fought and kicked. The Taser was deployed a second time in a different area and appeared to have some effect; they gained enough control to get the male’s hands behind his back and begin to handcuff him.
Deputy Ruff had arrived to assist, allowing Pfeffer to move back. The male continued to fight and kick as the deputies tried to calm him down and remove him from the floor. The Taser was utilized again and appeared to have the desired effect. They moved the male onto the mattress and rolled him onto his side where they could monitor his breathing. The male became agitated again, tried to kick the deputies and lower leg restraints were applied.
Eventually, the male was placed on a gurney and restrained using 4-point soft restraints.
Thankfully, other than some abrasions, bumps and bruises, none of the deputies nor DPA staff were injured. The male was transported to a local hospital per the court order but could face three counts of Assault 3rd Degree on Law Enforcement.
All three deputies at the scene are extremely thankful for the actions of DPA Medic Pfeffer. He jumped in without hesitation to assist the deputies as they attempted to gain control of the male suffering from mental issues, as he violently fought them and appeared to have abnormal strength. His selfless actions kept this situation for getting worse, helped the deputies gain control of the male, and helped prevent injury to the male or the deputies.
Thank you DPA Medic Pfeffer.