Slow And Unsteady

I stopped an older couple sitting on a bench on the west side of a University operated, city-owned theater. The two organizations had made this agreement to prevent the theater from going bankrupt. It was dark and late in the evening when I saw the two of them drinking beer in public, a misdemeanor on University-controlled property. I asked them for identification so that I could issue them warnings and check them for warrants. The woman provided her ID right away. The man said that he didn’t have anything with him. I ran the woman’s information and she came back with no wants. I advised her of the regulations, then obtained the man’s name and date of birth from him verbally. The woman asked if she could leave and appeared to be in a hurry. I told her she was free to go or she could wait for her friend if she wanted. She said she had places to be and scurried off.

I asked dispatch to run the man’s information and dispatch told me that there were no records for the information that I had given them. Based on this, the man’s hesitations when providing me with the information, and the woman’s deep desire to be anywhere else, made me believe that the man had given me false information. I asked him if he had anything with his name on it in his pockets and he said he did not. I asked if I could check to see if he had anything in his pockets, meaning, could I search him? He removed the items from his back pocket and began to fumble with them. I saw a passport among the items. He repeated that he didn’t have anything with his name and date of birth on it.

I asked if I could see the passport. He handed it to me and I opened it and saw that the face in the photo was his, but that the name and date of birth were different than what he had given me. When I looked up at him, he took off running away from me, toward the north side of the building. Although “run” was not an apt description; it was more like a slow-motion jog, or a long-stepped shuffle. Either way, he moved slowly away from me.

“Mr. Flores, I have your passport,” I called after him, but he didn’t slow down, although, in his defense, any slowing would actually be stopping. I assumed he would hit the street on the other side of the building and continue northbound on the sidewalk. I walked back to my car, parked at the southeast corner of the building, figuring that I would get in my car and catch him a little further up the street or perhaps, just return to the station and request a warrant for his arrest. As I reached my car, I saw the man walking on the other side of the street as he turned eastbound onto the paseo between 3rd and 4th Streets, toward the main campus.

I jogged across the street to avoid being hit by traffic and strode up to him, walking alongside when I caught up.

“Mr. Flores, do you really think you are getting away from me tonight?” I asked, startling him with my presence.

“I have warrants,” he mumbled. “I’m supposed to see my grandson tonight. I just want to see my grandson.”

“Mr. Flores, it’s already midnight. What time are you supposed to see him?”

“I just can’t go to jail,” he implored, giving up on his imaginary grandson (well, I’m sure the grandson is real, but the appointment was surely imaginary).

“Unfortunately, that’s where you’re going,” I told him and asked him to stop. He refused. I grabbed his arm and he pulled from my grasp. He was in his early 60s, drunk, infirm, and not a threat. I was not going to fight with him over this, but he was definitely under arrest.

He took off again in his slow-motion jog and turned right at the street. I followed at a brisk walk and saw him duck into the doorway of an apartment complex. When he realized that I had seen him, he ran again (please remember that when I say ‘run’ I really mean traveling at a basic walking speed with a running motion) and crossed the busy street to end up on the University proper, running eastbound through the campus. Two of my uniformed student assistants saw him and blocked his path with their electric cart. Stupefied by their seemingly magical appearance, Flores turned and ran back toward me. To avoid the fight that I saw coming, and saw him losing, I drew my baton and swung it up toward the sky.

Flores slowly dropped to the grass and lay down, gasping for air. Once I had him handcuffed and in custody, I had dispatch check him for warrants and found multiple warrants for his arrest, mainly for drug violations. I also checked to see if he needed an ambulance. He said he did not.

“Are you sure?” I asked, not wanting him to die of a heart attack in the back seat of my patrol car.

Thus was completed the seven minute foot pursuit that only lasted three blocks and I didn’t even break a sweat. However, I didn’t breathe easy until we had cleared medical screening down at the jail.

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