Police beat: A slow driver, a crying grandmother and a bout at the bank

Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma police.

Oct. 27: The man drove too slowly and steered with no hands.

His 1994 Nissan Altima inched through the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South 19th Street. He pumped his right fist through the sunroof and his left fist out the driver’s window.

An officer watched from a marked patrol car as the man drove by. The man repeated his slow-motion turn at another intersection. The officer tracked him from a distance. The man kept going. A growing number of cars trailed him in a poky parade. He drove past the officer and shook his fist with a glare.

The officer flicked on his lights, hit the siren and radioed for backup. The driver didn’t stop. He rolled along for another two blocks before a second patrol car got in his way. The man drove around it. A third patrol car showed up. The man stopped.

He was 48, and far from chatty. Officers cuffed him and asked for his name.

“Lawyer,” the man said.

Officers asked for his driver’s license.

“Lawyer,” the man said. It was the only word he uttered.

Officers eventually gleaned the man’s identity from his car registration and a state fishing license. Tracks in records revealed he was registered as a sex offender in New York, but not in Washington.

Other court files revealed the man had filed several restraining order petitions against his 87-year-old father, a Tacoma resident; the petitions spoke of government surveillance, among other things.

Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.

Oct. 28: The man claimed his girlfriend’s mother assaulted him with a cane. He showed officers the welt on his head.

He was 34. He said he lived on and off with the girlfriend in the 4000 block of East B Street. He came over to talk to the girlfriend, he explained — but the mother interrupted and cracked him in the head.

Officers called Tacoma firefighters for medical aid. The emergency team suspected the man was drunk and possibly high on something. They took him to Tacoma General Hospital for a closer look.

The girlfriend’s mother gave officers a different story. She was 53. She said the man came over after midnight, drunk and belligerent, demanding his medication. The mother didn’t know what he was talking about.

The girlfriend was 26. She said she walked into the kitchen and saw the argument between her mother and the boyfriend. The man turned and called the girlfriend names — one of them especially offensive.

The mother said the man had pushed her into the refrigerator. She had retreated into her bedroom. The man threw a child’s car seat at the bedroom door. He blasted into the bedroom, picked up the car seat and threw it again, barely missing a 4-year-old boy lying in bed — the woman’s grandson.

The mother didn’t like that, and said so.

“So what,” the man replied, according to the report. “He’s just a little bastard, anyway.”

The mother lashed out with her cane and hit the man in the head, she said. As she told the story, she started crying and said she was afraid.

Officers looked over the scene. They saw the car seat and a hole in the bedroom door. They saw the metal cane.

The mother said she wanted a no-contact order. The girlfriend said she didn’t.

Staffers from Tacoma General Hospital told police the man had alcohol and traces of heroin in his system. Officers booked the boyfriend into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

Oct. 28: The man wanted his money from the bank, and he wasn’t interested in waiting.

Officers drove to the bank in the 100 block of South Ninth Street, responding to a reported disturbance.

They found a 27-year-old woman in tears and a 31-year-old man who refused to leave the building. Officers cuffed the man, took him outside, and spoke to the woman.

She said she was a personal banker. She worked in a cubicle at a desk in the lobby. She said the man walked into the bank, strode to her cubicle and yelled, with profane emphasis, “You better give me my money right now.”

The woman said she didn’t know what the man was talking about and had no money at her cubicle.

The man yelled again, saying, “You don’t know who I am,” and added, “you better do it now, or you will all be sorry.”

The man started digging in his pocket, the woman said. She feared a weapon, but the man held up a bank card.

The woman said she could help the man use the teller window or the ATM. The man said that wasn’t good enough and demanded his money immediately.

A security guard intervened. The man yelled at her and threatened to knock her out. The guard kept talking to the man while workers called police.

A witness backed up the stories from the woman and the guard. Officers spoke to the man outside. He showed them an ATM receipt for $200.

He said he deposited his check, but the machine wouldn’t give him his money. He said he was sorry for making the woman cry.

Officers booked the man into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor harassment, and told the man he was banned from returning to the bank.