Teen Appears in Wayne County Juvenile Court
A 16-year-old teenager who strenuously resisted being arrested earlier this week will face charges in the Wayne County Juvenile Court related to selling marijuana and battering two officers.
The 16-year-old Grosse Pointe Farms resident arrested this week for selling marijuana on Richard Elementary School grounds following a chase and altercation with an officer will go through the Wayne County Juvenile system, Grosse Pointe Farms Detective John Walko said.
Arrested Monday afternoon near Cottage Hospital on the Hill, the teenager refused to follow repeated commands given to him by more than one officer and fought strenuously being put into handcuffs.
He was eventually taken into custody and officers found he had 24 grams of marijuana in a glass jar. He had sold 1/8 of an ounce to another teenager from Grosse Pointe Park for $40--a transaction witnessed by a woman near the school who called police.
Following his arrest, the police held him on charges of resisting arrest and selling marijuana. Walko said the teen made an appearance in Wayne County Juvenile Court the next morning and is now out on bond. His case will continue through the juvenile system.
The initial responding officer, Geoffrey McQueen, is now on crutches due to an injury to his ankle and heel as a result of the struggle, Farms Director of Public Safety Dan Jensen said.
Jensen said Wednesday McQueen and the second responding officer, Lt. Andrew Rogers, demonstrated great restraint in making the arrest related to the use of force. Officers are allowed to use force they believe to be appropriate given the circumstances to effect an arrest, Jensen said.
Given that this teenager was fighting the arrest so strenuously, the officers easily could have used more force but they used good judgement in realizing he was a teenager, Jensen said, noting their goal was to get him under control without injuring him.
McQueen deployed a taser after the teen began looking at and grabbing at his handgun, but only used it after giving the teen warning that he would not use it if the teen would comply with the officers commands. He used the taser, which did not phase the teenager. At the time, it was not clear whether the boy withstood the shock or whether the taser malfunctioned, Jensen said.
Upon looking into it afterward, Jensen said, the taser malfunctioned and did not give the shock it is intended to allowing the teenager to continue fighting the officer.
Ultimately, McQueen was injured as a result of the struggle and Rogers was struck in the face twice from the teen's flailing hands during his fight with McQueen, Jensen said.
Walko, who serves as the department's youth officer, said the encounter on Monday was of a very serious nature rooted in drugs. More often than not, the juveniles in the Pointes who have encounters with police are committing crimes to support a drug habit.
Despite the common belief that marijuana is less harmful than most drugs, Walko said those who begin trying it are likely to move on to harder drugs, such as heroin, which is deadly. There is "no experimenting with heroin," Walko said, "you're either addicted or don't do it."
About a year earlier, the teen arrested Monday had contact with Walko related to possession of marijuana--something he says should not be taken lightly by anyone. Simple possession cases, Walko said, should send up a red flags that drugs are a problem.
Walko, who sees all of the department's youth offenders, often releases juveniles to their parents. While he must deal with the youth offenders in criminal situations, he prefers to get the juveniles the help they need.
Many of those teenagers he's helped and even their parents, call years later to thank him. He builds a relationship with the teens and even gives them his personal cell number so they may reach him any time.
"I genuinely want these kids to improve," Walko said, noting he welcomes any juvenile who want to talk about drugs or have questions, to contact him through the department. He will set up a confidential appointment in which an open discussion can be had, but the juvenile must agree to meet him, he said.
"If drugs are involved, you're going to meet anyway," Walko said. "Meet me before you're on the other side."