Homeless man arrested for yelling threats, blocking traffic


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Eric Robert Channing, 32, was arrested yesterday and charged with disorderly conduct. This is the eighth time he has been arrested in 2022.

At about 3:08 p.m. on December 15, a Gainesville Police Department officer responded to 1800 W. University Avenue after a caller reported an intoxicated, “highly confrontational” person threatening to kill anyone who confronted him. The officer reportedly told the caller that he was unable to develop probable cause for simple assault and criminal mischief, but then Channing allegedly stepped directly in front of traffic at the intersection of NW 18th Street and NW 1st Avenue, blocking cars from going southbound.

Channing allegedly “flipped everyone off (middle finger)” and yelled “multiple racial slurs,” and officers arrested him and charged him with disorderly conduct.

Channing has two felony convictions; he has been adjudicated guilty in three misdemeanor cases this year, two for trespassing and one for petit theft and trespass without warning; he has been fined $276, $276, and $376 in the three cases but has not paid any of the fines. He has a pending DUI case in Charlotte County. Charges have been dropped in a November case in which he was arrested for setting fires at a bus stop, charges have been dropped in an October case in which he was arrested for attempted robbery, and charges have been dropped in an August case in which he was arrested for burning another man with a cigarette. Judge Walter Green set bail at $1,000.

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. 

  • Clearly this man wants to be arrested and needs attention. Where is Lauren Poe to give him attention?

  • Here is your sign! We need better mental health protocols in Gainesville. This man is mentally I’ll not a criminal. Get him some help.

    • He’s a drug addict. There is a difference. Locking him up for 3 to 6 months for a complete detox should be good for him.

    • His therapy in prison for 5 years at hard physical labor should work quite well.

    • Because the crime is not a financial crime. This mental health crisis gets jail time and fines while the other one gets a megaphone.

  • We have three very cold nights ahead of us. I think he pulled this charade to get out of the cold front we have coming this weekend. He can sleep in a warm cell on a bed with 3 hot meals. He’s smart enough to know that his offense won’t keep him in jail for very long. I’ve actually met this guy. He’s not stupid.

    • Darned right BH, the hobos are smart. College towns are a cornucopia for folks living off the land.

  • This guy makes threats saying he’s going to kill someone and officers were unable to ascertain “probable cause for simple assault.”
    Correctly if I’m wrong, but didn’t someone make a threat against Poe or one of the commissioners a short time back and arrested for same?

    I guess they do think they’re better than the rest of us. Nice having that private Gestapo.

  • Look at that big ole smile on his face. He’s happy to go to jail and eat that garbage Worst food ever!

  • A few whacks with a police nightstick might be the best solution. Then drop him off somewhere far away from 13th and University. I know, we’re way too woke to even consider something so barbaric.

  • Crime pays in Gainesville. Saw a car thief get less than 6 months jail. Can’t arrest this guy for threatening to kill someone. 2 felony convictions, 3 misdemeanor. 3 dropped charges. Either get him some help or get him off the streets.

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