Crime

He cut his hand on a window, then allegedly 'gouged' a deputy's eye four times

The Bellingham Herald file

A Whatcom County Sheriff's deputy has blurred vision and abrasions to his face and the cornea of his eye after a suspect "gouged his thumb" into the deputy's eye at least four times trying to arrest him Saturday night.

Deputies were called to 5120 Guide Meridian Road at 10:35 p.m. on a report of a drunken tenant who was causing problems for his roommates, according to Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks. On their way to the incident, the deputies were advised that the tenant had "punched" through a window on a door to the house.

When deputies arrived, Michael Wayne Brown, 50, was already in the backseat of a car that was trying to leave the scene, Parks said. Deputies noticed Brown, who initially refused to identify himself, was bleeding from his knuckles and hands and had wrapped them in paper towels to stop the bleeding.

Brown refused to get out of the car and pushed away a deputy who tried to remove him. During the ensuing struggle, Brown allegedly tried to gouge the deputy's eye with his blood-covered thumb at least four times, as well as attempting to "strike, slap and kick" the deputy, Parks said.

The deputy put Brown in a choke hold, rendering him unconscious, and removed him from the car.

As deputies tried to handcuff him, Brown regained consciousness and again struggled to free himself, forcing the deputy to use the neck hold a second time so Brown could be restrained.

Witnesses later told deputies that Brown injured his hand when he "was knocking vigorously" on the glass of the front door while trying to get someone to answer the door during an argument, and "accidentally" broke the glass, Parks said.

Brown was taken to St. Joseph Hospital for evaluation, where he reportedly threatened deputies, saying "Kevlar does not stop a knife," and "Kevlar does not stop a .50 caliber." He then reportedly glared at a deputy and said "Take a .50 caliber to a head," threatened a deputy's wife and said he "was going to track (the) deputy down to where he lived and make (the) deputy be 'sorry.'"

Brown also refused to allow his blood to be drawn to check for any blood-borne pathogens that may have been transferred to the deputy during the struggle. A county health officer later ordered a blood sample be taken by medical personnel, though it is not yet known if Brown's blood entered the deputy's eye, according to the report.

Brown has since been cleared at the hospital and booked into Whatcom County Jail. He was arrested on suspicion of four counts of first-degree assault, felony harassment for threatening a second deputy, obstructing, resisting arrest and third-degree malicious mischief for breaking the window on the door.

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