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GRACE Marketplace resident arrested for attempted battery on Meridian staff

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Michael Benjamin Thomas, 24, was arrested yesterday morning after allegedly trying to punch and kick multiple employees at the Meridian Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU).

According to the arrest report, Thomas, who was admitted to the CSU, was attempting to break items and attack staff in the day room of the facility. One employee opened the top portion of a half door to try to calm him and reported that he tried to punch her through the doorway. She reportedly said that if she had not ducked at the last moment, he would have struck her in the head, and she feared she would have been knocked unconscious.

Two more employees reportedly tried to step in after Thomas allegedly tried to hit the first employee. They reported that he took his shirt off, assumed a fighting stance, and began trying to kick both of them. They both reportedly said that if they had not dodged the kicks, he would have kicked them.

The investigating deputy interviewed a staff psychiatrist, who reportedly said that in his professional opinion, he did not believe Thomas was having a psychiatric episode but that he was “knowingly and willfully acting out.”

The deputy reported that while he was transporting Thomas to the jail, Thomas told him that he was only at CSU “because he was tired of living at Grace Marketplace, so he did something with the intent to be Baker Acted and taken somewhere else.”

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Thomas has five prior battery convictions in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Duval, and Nassau Counties. He was released from state prison in 2019 and told officials that he would be living in Jacksonville. The charges in that case were very similar to the current case: two counts of battery on an official or employee, criminal mischief, and simple battery.

Thomas has been charged with attempted battery on medical staff and attempted second or subsequent battery, both felonies. He is being held on $40,000 bail.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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