Bellingham man tried to remove officers’ service pistols during arrest, police say

A man tried to remove the service pistols from two Bellingham police officers’ holsters during an arrest Friday in downtown, police said.

Claude Christian Miller, 34, of Bellingham, was booked into Whatcom County Jail about 4:30 p.m. Friday on suspicion of third-degree assault of a law-enforcement officer, obstructing a police officer, disarming a law-enforcement officer and resisting arrest, according to jail records.

Police officers on bicycles were patrolling the 1400 block of Commercial Street just before 4 p.m. Friday, Sgt. Dave Crass said. The officers noticed and recognized Anthony Lee Beckwith, 27, of Bellingham, and thought he might have an outstanding warrant, Crass said. When they ran his name, they found Beckwith had an active warrant for residential burglary.

As officers took Beckwith into custody, Miller noticed and began watching the arrest, Crass said. He became upset and swore at the officers, Crass added. A third officer responded to the scene in a patrol car.

As the officers on bicycles began riding away from the scene, Miller began kicking the third officer’s patrol car, Crass said. They then told him he was under arrest.

Miller fought with officers as they tried to arrest him, Crass said, all of them falling to the ground in a struggle as Miller clawed at and bit police.

At one point, Miller reached for one of the officer’s pistols and tried removing it from its holster, but was unsuccessful. He tried again with another officer’s gun, but again couldn’t remove it.

He eventually was taken into custody.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan