As the Mammoth Lakes Town Council continues to debate whether or not to increase police department staffing (the topic will be revisited for the third time at the Feb. 2 Council meeting), the MLPD released a press release on Feb. 1 that demonstrates how busy the department can be on any given day.
On the morning of Jan. 30, on-duty MLPD Officers Gladding and Torres noticed two suspicious persons near the AA building off of Minaret Rd. The first, Courtland Earickson, 18, of Orange, was lying in the snow and was found to be highly intoxicated. Officer Gladding arrested him for public intoxication while Officer Torres attended to the second subject, Travis Beigle, 18, also of Orange. Beigle had hidden himself behind a tree, attempting to conceal himself from the officers on the scene.
Torres ordered Beigle to come out from behind the tree, but instead Beigle began to run away. Torres was able to catch up to Beigle, but the 6’02” 310 lb man was not easily apprehended and a struggle ensued. Gladding secured Earickson and then left the patrol vehicle to assist Torres. Torres was able to get Beigle to the ground, and then both officers climbed onto his back in an attempt to gain control. Beigle, however, was able to stand with both officers on his back and continued the struggle.
When even pepper spray to the face did not slow Beigle down, the officers, who had begun to tire, prepared to place Beigle in a carotid restraint, or a chokehold because, according to the press release from MLPD, “they were over-powered and knew there were no other officers to assist them.”
However, Sergeant Moscowitz, Officer Gorham and Officer Casabian, who were all off-duty, heard the radio traffic and returned to duty to help out at the scene. With the assistance of Casabian, Torres and Gladding were finally able to get Beigle into handcuffs. One officer received minor injuries as a result of the altercation. Beigle was arrested and later transported to jail on charges of public intoxication and resisting.
While this incident was occurring, the officers received another call about a stolen vehicle. Before responding the officers had to take the two arrestees to the station. On the way there they received communication that the suspect in the stolen vehicle incident was cornered at The Village by civilian security officers that were in need of MLPD’s assistance. Torres and Gorham stayed with the two arrestees while Gladding went to The Village with Moscowitz and Casabian, even though the latter two were in plain clothes.
Leonard F. Hirsh III, 33, of Los Angeles was taken into custody for vehicle theft and driving under the influence of alcohol. MLPD recovered the stolen vehicle which was returned to the owner.
Because of the high amount of activity throughout the night Officer Thompson was called out at 1:30 a.m. and made two separate transports to Bridgeport with a total of six arrestees. Thompson then returned to work day shift.
Within the week, this was the third physical confrontation between officers and violent subjects, causing minor injuries to two officers, and the second in-progress vehicle theft. –Press Release/LAK