Stapleton, Paul Wayne
Date of Booking:
Reason(s) For Booking:
Criminal Trespass, Damage Of $500 Or Less
Loitering / Prowling
Willful Obstruction Of Law Officers, Misd
Willful Obstruction Of Law Officers, Misd
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the official initial incident report. The Georgia Gazette does not fix any spelling or grammatical errors that may exist. Any changes or redactions made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist. All subjects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The topics discussed may be sensitive to some readers. Discretion is advised.]
On this date, 11/08/2022, I was in the area of Providence Ministries located at 711 S Hamilton St in reference to a case follow up. I was looking for Paul Stapleton. Paul had fled from me and evaded arrest on the previous date. This incident is detailed in case #22-006508. In reference to case #22-006508, I had an arrest warrant (warrant# W22-1323) in my possession for Paul Stapleton for the charges of loitering or prowling (OCGA 16-11-36) and obstructing or hindering law enforcement officer (OCGA 16-10-24). I came to this location because I knew that it was an area that Paul sometimes frequented.
Upon going inside the rear door of Providence, I observed Paul standing in line for food. He was still wearing the same clothes from the day prior when he evaded arrest. I immediately went outside and requested that another unit be en route to me. I planned on waiting for another unit before approaching Paul due to the high probability that he would most likely flee again.
While waiting outside on the back side of the building for another unit, Paul came out and made eye contact with me. I greeted Paul and asked how he was doing. Paul asked if I was going to harass him. I told Paul that I just needed to talk to him. Paul then took off running eastbound towards the train tracks. I took off running towards Paul while yelling for him to stop numerous times. We crossed over the first set of tracks and then started running Northeast. We then crossed onto the second set of tracks while still running Northeast. I was losing ground on Paul and he was increasing the gap between us. While still yelling at Paul to stop, I withdrew my department-issued taser from the holster on my duty belt.
While still on the gravel of the second set of tracks, I activated my taser by turning on the “safety switch”. While still on the gravel of the second set of tracks, I aimed my taser at Paul’s back. I observed that the top “red dot” was pointing at Paul’s left lower shoulder blade. Due to Paul fleeing arrest multiple times, my knowledge that he has fought officers in the past numerous times, and the increased distance between us, I then pulled the trigger of my taser and released it to allow the taser to run through a full cycle. At the time that I pulled the trigger, I was approximately 10′-12′ behind Paul.
I observed the top probe of the cartridge make contact with Paul’s left lower shoulder blade. I am unsure if the other probe made contact. Upon making contact, Paul fell to the ground in the gravel. I quickly notified dispatch that I had deployed my taser. I quickly got to Paul’s position on the ground, placed my taser on the ground to the right by my right leg, and began to grab Paul’s arms in an attempt to gain control of them and secure them in handcuffs. Once the taser cycle had ended, Paul began to resist my attempts to secure his hands in handcuffs. Paul attempted to stand up and then began to reach for his front waist band. I was unsure if Paul had any weapons located in his waist band. I had to use my body weight to keep Paul on the ground and was able to pull his arms away from his waistband back towards his back.
Upon pulling Paul’s arms back to his sides and back, Paul began to reach and grab at my arms. Paul had grabbed my right wrist at one point and I was able to break free. Paul then started to reach for my taser with his right arm, which was still laying on the ground to my right. I feared that if Paul acquired my taser, he would be able to use it on me and temporarily incapacitate me. For this reason, I grabbed my taser with my right hand while contining to try to control Paul with my left hand. While holding my taser with my right hand, Paul continued to reach for it.
Due to Paul reaching for my taser and my fear that he might be able to get it away from me due to him being a larger individual than I, I pressed the right side “arc switch” for a moment in an attempt to get Paul to stop. Upon pressing the arc switch, Paul stopped reaching for my taser and his right arm went back to the ground. I then set my taser down again to my right and began to attempt to secure Paul in handcuffs once again.
Paul once again began to resist and struggle with me. I removed my handcuffs from the holder on the back of my duty belt. While attempting to secure his left wrist in the handcuffs, Paul once again began to reach for my taser. I was forced to drop my handcuffs on the ground to the left of Paul’s person and attempt to secure my taser. While Paul was reaching for my taser, I was able to quickly pick it up with my right hand. Paul continued to struggle with me in what I believed to be an attempt to take my taser away from me.
Due to Paul’s continued struggle for my taser and my fear that he would be able to overpower me and take control of it, I took my taser and placed it into Paul’s right side above his belt line. I then activated the right side “arc switch” again for a moment until Paul stopped trying to take it away from me. I was unsure if both probes had made contact with Paul and elected to make contact with Paul’s side with the taser in what I hoped would be a more effective attempt at gaining his compliance and making him stop fighting for my taser. Once Paul had temporarily stopped trying to grab my taser, I once again attempted to gain control of his arms and try to secure them in handcuffs.
Paul again began to resist and fight me. Paul resumed trying to take my taser away from me while I was still holding it with my right hand. Paul rolled over onto his back and pushed me off of him. Paul then stood up while I was on my knee and turned around in what appeared to be another attempt to flee. While still on my knee, I aimed my taser again at Paul’s back. I observed the top red dot of my taser on the left upper side of Paul’s back. Due to Paul continuing to resist arrest and his fighting attempts to take my taser away from in what I believed was an attempt to offer me violence, I pulled the trigger on my taser again and released it to allow it to run a full cycle. Paul again fell the ground. I am unsure which probe or probes of this second cartridge made contact with Paul.
I again quickly moved to Paul’s position. I was able to quickly secure his left wrist in a handcuff and threw my taser to the ground behind me. While attempting to gain control of Paul’s right wrist, he again started to resist my attempts to control him. I was able to grab the left cuff on Paul’s left wrist and apply an arm bar to keep Paul on his knees as he was attempting to stand up. While doing this, Pfc Allen arrived and assisted in knocking Paul to the ground. Pfc Allen controlled Paul’s right arm and I was finally able to secure it in the other handcuff. About this time, several other officers had arrived and assisted in securing the scene and securing Paul.
While fighting with Paul, I observed blood on the ground. I observed that Paul had a laceration approximately 1″ above his left eye. While fighting with Paul, I pleaded with him to stop and attempted to advise him that he was injured and needed medical assistance. These efforts failed and Paul continued to fight, as noted above.
Other than the injury above, I did not observe any other injuries to Paul’s person. Dalton Fire Department quickly arrived to evaluate Paul and give him medical assistance. While other officers stood with Paul, I evaluated myself for injuries. My hands were bloody from both Paul’s blood and my own. A couple of knuckles on my right hand appeared to be scraped, cut, and bleeding. On my left hand, my left ring finger was swollen and in pain.
Hamilton EMS arrived on scene. They advised that if Paul was going to be transported in handcuffs, he either needed to be transported by an officer in a patrol car or an officer needed to right in the back of the ambulance. It was decided that I would transport Paul to the hospital while EMS followed me. EMS assured me that Paul’s injuries were not serious and this method of transportation would be fine. I secured Paul in the back seat of my patrol vehicle. I then transported Paul to the Hamilton Medical Center while EMS followed.
Once on scene, myself along with EMS escorted Paul into the building. Paul was able to walk without issue and asked multiple times why I was bothering him, even though I explained that I had a warrant for his arrest multiple times.
Hospital staff walked us to a room and began to care for Paul. They began to take his vitals, which they informed me were “normal”. I alerted both the registered nurse (RN) and nurse practitioner caring for Paul that he may had been subject to “prolonged taser exposure”. I was unsure exactly how long Paul was subjected but alerted them just in case. They assured me that they would thoroughly evaluate Paul for any injuries.
After evaluating Paul, I asked hospital staff about the extent of his injuries. They stated that laceration was not “serious” and would just require stitches. They stated that they planned on doing a scan of Paul’s head to determine if there were any other injuries. I am unsure of the results of this scan due to leaving prior to it being conducted. They assured me that Paul’s vitals were good. They also gave Paul a tetanus shot.
While at the hospital, my injured left ring finger continued to become more swollen and began to turn purple. I asked a RN about it and she advised that it was possibly broken or sprained but could not know without a scan. I elected not to check in to the hospital.
I completed warrantless arrest form #66219 for Paul’s arrest in reference to his actions from today. On this form, I charged Paul with a misdemeanor charge of obstructing or hindering law enforcement officer (OCGA #16-10-24) and criminal trespass (OCGA 16-7-21).
Paul Stapleton did commit the offense of obstructing or hindering law enforcement officer (OCGA 16-10-24) when he knowingly and willingly obstructed and hindered a law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties. Paul did this when he hindered my ability place him under arrest for an outstanding warrant by fleeing from me and, after being tased, continuing to resist arrest, fight, and attempt to take control of my taser.
Paul Stapleton did commit the offense of criminal trespass (OCGA 16-7-21) when he knowingly and without authority entered the land and premises of another for an unlawful purpose. Paul did this when he entered onto the train tracks of both CSX and Norfolk with the purpose of fleeing arrest. There are several signs posted in this area stated that no one is allowed on the train tracks as it is private property of these respective companies.
I left this warrantless arrest form and the warrant from last date (#W22-1323) with Pfc Allen, who was going to wait at the hospital with Paul while he continued to receive care.
[End of Narrative]