Sunday, July 09, 2006

“You Could Get Raped and Murdered”
I was walking up Mellen Street on Sunday morning, July 9th, at about 11:30, when I heard a man coming down the street screaming at the top of his voice, as if he was in a rage. Several children were on the front steps of the Sacred Heart Church and quickly scurried inside, probably out of fear. The man seemed to get some pleasure from this and was laughing maniacally.
I went to the pay phone in front of the Mellen Street Market and called 911. I told the dispatcher that the man was screaming at people and terrorizing them. I gave a description and walked to the corner to await the arrival of the police. I could not see the man from the market, but I could still hear his voice. When I got to the corner of Mellen and Grant, the man, who appeared to be about forty years old, was engaged in a conversation with a woman who had just left the church and was about to get in her car. The woman looked like she was in her seventies. She was wearing a summer dress and a straw hat. She had apparently been able to calm the man down to some degree. I couldn’t hear their conversation, but he seemed to be mocking her religious beliefs. She remained calm and continued to engage him in conversation. Then he started yelling again.
“You could get raped and murdered!” he yelled at her fiercely as he put his face just inches from hers. At that point, I walked across the street and walked up to the woman as if I knew her and said “Hi! How are you? How was church today?” I was now standing between the two of them. I’m not sure if she answered me, but the man, who I could now tell was drunk, said “Oh, he’s another one of those holy rollers!” and he started walking away, continuing his tirade. I stayed with the woman for a few minutes and chatted with her. She said she was going to drive directly to her nephew’s house and stay there for the day. She still seemed calm, but she was probably very upset and I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had burst into tears after the ordeal that she had been through.
The police arrived shortly, and other people who had been witnessing these events directed the police to the man, who had gone to the side lot next to the church. The police talked to the man for a few minutes and then frisked him. Two men pulled up in a pickup truck while the police were frisking the man, and one of them went into the lot, apparently to see who it was.
“It’s not Larry. It’s Pete,” he said to the other man, as he came out of the lot. “Pete is crazy when he’s drunk!” The two men, who were clean-cut looking and neatly dressed, looked like they might have been drug and alcohol counselors from a local social services agency. They drove off in their truck.
I continued my walk up the hill as the two officers continued to process ‘Pete’. Before I got to Congress Street, I heard a man’s voice screaming in rage. I turned around to see ‘Pete’ walking up the hill. I couldn’t hear what he was screaming.
In regard to the incident described above, Portland Chief of Police Tim Burton identified the man as someone who is well-known to the police as a drinker with mental health issues. Burton said that the police have had numerous contacts with the man – almost all for drinking or trespass.
The man is refused admittance to all the treatment facilities, according to Burton, because of his behavior. The responding officers, Lachanceand Rooney, arrived within a couple of minutes, but missed the female victim and lacked the requisite elements for either a disorderly or threatening arrest. Having no place to take the man, they released him.
“He does bother people, but he is not assaultive, said Burton.

-Ed King

1 Comments:

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17 July, 2006 06:08  

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