Update: 3 Officers, 1 Deputy injured in altercation with man believed to be mentally ill
MOULTON, Ala.- Three Moulton police officers and one Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputy were injured after a man who is believed to be mentally ill assaulted them. The incident took place at 3440 Byler Road in Moulton.
Moulton Police Chief, Lyndon McWhorter says 27-year-old Demetrae Griffin attacked officers with rocks and with an officer’s baton. During the scuffle the man was able to break into a deputy’s vehicle with a rock. Police surrounded the vehicle for an hour; eventually family members were able to talk the man down.
Chief McWhorter says that during the altercation the man was hit with a taser after he threw the first rock, but it was unsuccessful. The man was tasered a second time after exiting the deputy’s vehicle, when officers saw a knife.
Demetrae Griffin was a star high school football player at Speake High School. High school friends say he was an odd guy, but was very talented at football.
Moulton Police say they knew who he was when they responded and knew they were going to be dealing with a mentally ill man. Moulton’s Chief of Police Lyndon McWhorter says his officers are trained to handle these situations.”We have different sessions. They go through a lot of different training some of it is on mental some on general law”, Chief McWhorter said.
Griffin is in police custody at a local hospital, but they don’t know what’s next for him. Chief McWhorter doesn’t think jail is the place for him. Chief McWhorter said he expects warrants to be issued, but will try to get Griffin some mental health help, but there may not be room.
“Our hands are tied a lot of times because beds are full. If you can’t get them into a bed then it’s either jail or the street”, Chief McWhorter said. He said someone as ill as Griffin can’t be put back on the street.
Police say the man has since been taken to Decatur Medical Center. Officer Shane Burkett, Officer Keith Pepper, and Sgt. Ashley Bowling were taken to Lawrence Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Officer Burkett and Officer Pepper have been released.
Moulton Police say the Alabama Bureau of Investigation will be investigating and will determine if any charges will be filled against Griffin.