Police Dispatch

Out of Her Tree?

Catalina Beat

Sept. 11, 11:41 a.m.

When a cop interrupted a woman's mystifying mission on a stranger's property, her attitude ranged from dangerously daring to meekly remorseful—drawing several units who had to forcefully drag her to jail (though she probably could've walked away with a warning), a Pima County Sheriff's Department report said.

Late one morning, a sheriff's deputy responded to a vacant lot whose owner needed help removing a trespasser who was "cutting down a tree" and wouldn't leave.

The deputy found a 30-year-old female there inside a chain-link fence—which she'd apparently climbed—holding a medium-sized serrated knife, which she refused to drop upon the deputy's command, saying cryptically, "Leave me alone. I'm just trying to fix the trees."

The deputy then had to draw his gun; pointing it at her, he again told her to drop the knife ... and she again casually defied him, instead plopping it in a plastic bag.

Now, when the deputy approached the woman, keeping her at gunpoint, she suddenly turned from rebellious to hysterical, repeatedly screaming, "Please don't kill me!" She finally did drop her knife, though she still refused to step away from it.

Her demeanor continued to swing between fearful and defiant: Initially, she refused to put her hands behind her back, give her name, or sit down on the ground (eventually compromising by squatting on the ground). Then, "crying and whimpering," she again begged the deputy not to kill her.

After reluctantly complying with some of his commands, she said she was sorry, repeating that she'd just been trying to "fix" a tree and declared she was ready to leave the property now. Unfortunately, the deputy said, "it was too late for that."

The woman then returned to resisting as he tried to bring her to his patrol car, "pulling away ... struggling ... and stiffening her legs" so he couldn't move her. She said "she could not go to jail because she could not drink the water or eat the food there."

Apparently taking pity on her, the deputy offered her a drink from her water bottle, which she took—only to spit out the water immediately.

As the deputy half-dragged and half-carried her to his car, at least three backup officers arrived to help, but the woman still couldn't be pushed into the car until she'd been subdued with a physical restraint and one deputy swept her legs out from under her.

Even while she was kicking against the arresting deputy, she kept repeating "she was sorry" and begging to be released (again told it was "past that point").

She was booked into jail for trespassing and resisting arrest. The reportee later told officers she'd seen the same woman on her property last week, also trying to cut down a tree using a knife and ignoring the owner's dozen commands to leave—saying "the trees ... belonged to her, and she wanted to buy the property."

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