I am a 78-year-old man who is 5 foot, 3 inches tall, who has been suffering from various health problems for approximately the past half year.

With no history in my long life of having problems with the law, on Feb. 10, 2020 one Greenlee County Sheriff’s deputy grabbed my arm, pulled it behind my back and then quite forcefully threw me to the ground. As I was facing the ground, the other officer who was there slammed his knee on my back to the point where I felt I couldn’t breathe. The first officer then kneed the other side of my back. He then handcuffed me quite roughly.

I was arrested, charged with aggravated assault and thrown in their cruise car. I spent the night in jail before I was allowed to leave on my own recognizance.

Why did this happen? An acquaintance who had been drinking and I (sober) had been arguing about the ownership of a tractor. The acquaintance called 9-1-1. When two officers arrived at the acquaintance’s house, we exchanged words. My crime involved briefly poking at one of the officer’s radios, which seemed to be coming off its wire on his chest. I was not in any way trying to harm the officer, nor was I armed. How in the world could I take on two strapping young officers in their prime even if I wanted to? A breathalyzer test indicated that I had not been drinking.

The actions of the officers were so aggressive and sudden that I was in a state of shock, from which I still haven’t recovered. Is this what Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office deputies are taught — to beat up little old men and charge them with a felony for doing something that may have involved a temporary lack of judgment, but in no way endangered the officer? If so, I believe we may need a change in leadership in the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office.

I don’t believe this would have ever happened under the guidance of the sheriff who served prior to this one.

Dennis O’Flattery


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