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Harassment suspect allegedly puts up struggle

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 2nd, 2013

Courier staff writer

ALAMOSA — Ernesto Michel had plenty of things to say during an alleged altercation with sheriff’s employees, but his comments cannot be repeated here.

Authorities reported that the 42-year-old man hurled one profanity after another at them throughout the course of the Dec. 12 incident, which reached an anticlimactic end when the results of his blood alcohol test came back negative.

During the tensest moments of the alleged confrontation, Alamosa County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Slade claimed that Michel grasped insistently at his gun holster.

In between a burst of four- and 12-letter words, Michel repeatedly yelled at Slade to shoot him, even as he threatened to kill the deputy, according to an official report on the incident.

At other times, the suspect reportedly butted his own head against a glass door, kicked repeatedly at the windows of a patrol vehicle and insulted everyone he came across.

By the time he was released from custody, he’d racked up charges of resisting arrest and obstructing a peace officer.

Slade reported that he also charged Michel with disorderly conduct, since the alleged fight was, quote, “not in a manner of amateur or professional contest of athletic skill.”

The brief kerfuffle flared up after the deputy spotted Michel staggering closely behind a woman on the sidewalk in front of the county clerk and recorder’s office.

As Slade stepped out of the building, the visibly upset woman approached him and voiced concerns about the stranger’s erratic behavior.

“I have no idea who this guy is,” she said. “He keeps following me around, threatening me and yelling at me.”

While the woman said she was concerned about her safety, she emphatically declined to press charges against Michel, telling the deputy that she only wanted the stranger to stay away from her.

When Slade asked Michel for his side of the story, the suspect began to curse and call the woman names. He continued to curse — louder, this time —when the deputy asked to see his identification.

As the questioning continued, Slade alleged that Michel grew even more agitated and belligerent.

Eventually, the deputy came to the conclusion that Michel posed a danger to himself and others, and determined that a trip to the detox center would be the best course of action.

But when the deputy informed Michel of his plans, the man froze in place and stared intensely at him.

Slade ordered Michel to stand up, turn around and place his hands behind his back, but the deputy’s demands were met with silence.

With the help of Sheriff’s Corporal Jerry Orton, Slade said he attempted to move a now-struggling Michel out to a patrol car.

But according to Slade’s report, the suspect didn’t make that task easy for them: first, he collapsed in their arms and tried to drop down to the ground. Then, he moved to pull away from them. Finally, he rammed his head into a glass door, Slade reported.

At that point, Slade said he took Michel to the ground — partly to keep the man from hurting himself, and partly to keep him from pulling away again.

All the while, Michel continued to scream curse words at the sheriff’s employees.

While Slade tried to turn Michel onto his stomach, the deputy’s patrol radio microphone slipped loose from his lapel.

Under the circumstances, Slade reported that he felt uncomfortable shifting his position in order to call for backup. So he kept Michel pinned to the ground for a few moments while he waited for nearby help to arrive.

It was during this time that Michel allegedly began to make quick grasping motions with his hands, touching the deputy’s gun holster and handcuff pouch.

As he was doing so, the deputy said Michel repeatedly yelled: “(Expletive) you, (expletive). Shoot me! I’m gonna take your gun and kill you!”

According to Slade, a second deputy soon arrived and gained control of Michel’s kicking legs, and Orton escorted the suspect out to a patrol car, which Michel proceeded to kick — repeatedly.

The stream of profanity, threats and door kicking allegedly continued “in a very loud manner” as Michel was placed into slip-tie ankle cuffs.

With that task out of the way, Slade advised the Alamosa County Detention Center that he was bringing a “combative male” to the facility.

Yet by the time they arrived at their destination, Michel was anything but combative.

In fact, according to the deputy’s report, the suspect was sound asleep in the back of the patrol car.

The detention center’s staff was left with the task of rousing Michel from his slumber. But once he was awake, he allegedly refused to budge from the car, so he was carried into the facility’s secured entryway.

Once inside, he remained down on the floor and ignored orders to stand up. Instead, he allegedly hurled obscenities at a staff member.

It took multiple detention center deputies to carry him into the facility.

Michel received a summons for the three charges; he was eventually released after a test showed that his blood alcohol level stood at 0.000.

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