The online community was buzzing the other day about a story of a man who, according to the website DCist, was naked and doing push-ups in the middle of an Arlington street when he was stunned with a Taser gun and arrested by police.
The Arlington County online crime report, which can be found here, states that officers were called to reports of a naked man in the middle of the 3200 block of S. 24th Street at about 8 p.m. Monday. Officers said the man ignored “numerous commands by police and began approaching officers in an aggressive manner while yelling obscenities.” The man, who was believed to have been under the influence of drugs, was stunned with the Taser, taken into custody, and charged with several violations, including obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct, and indecent exposure. The website also notes that the 31-year-old Arlington resident was held without bond.
Such incidents invariably make for snarky online news bites and amusing office banter. What often gets overlooked, however, is the underlying cause for these incidents. The online and media reports from Monday night’s incident in Arlington all note that the man appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. They do not, however, discuss whether the man has a history of mental illness and addiction-related arrests, or if the man received any sort of mental or physical medical review given the fact that he was shocked with electricity and given his state of mind and behavior. To the bloggers’ and reporters’ credit, the crime report issued by the county makes no mention of these things, though a simple phone call to a press information officer would have likely elicited a little more information.
The point we’re trying to make here is that such incidents are typically a symptom of a much larger and more serious mental health issue. Oftentimes those who are struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction suffer from additional illness, specifically mental disorders. Of course it’s entirely possible that a person could get intoxicated or high and do something extremely foolish while under the influence. More often than not, however, there are deeper problems and issues driving such behavior. In this way, the criminal justice system may be the only way in which people who are ill can get the proper help and diagnosis they require. Unfortunately, not everyone who needs such intervention is appropriately treated when arrested and charged. Ensuring that the person does receive the care they need is one of the greatest challenges and most important responsibilities that falls to criminal defense attorneys.
Karin Riley Porter Attorney at Law is a full-service criminal defense firm located in Virginia and staffed with a team of aggressive and accomplished attorneys who are dedicated to ensuring that their clients’ rights are protected and their needs are met. If you have been arrested for any criminal offense in Arlington County or anywhere else in the Commonwealth of Virginia, call Ms. Porter’s office today to schedule a free, initial consultation.