Man arrested after threatening neighbors with metal baton, attacking police officers


James E. Williams, 52, was arrested late Thursday evening and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly threatening neighbors with an expandable metal baton and fighting with three officers who were trying to detain him.

At about 10:35 p.m. on June 2, Gainesville Police Department (GPD) received complaints from residents of the complex at 822 NW 39th Avenue, with callers saying a man was walking around the complex and across the street to Stephen Foster Elementary School, holding some type of object (later identified as an expandable metal baton) and hitting signs, doors, and other objects to create loud and disruptive noises.

One person reported that Williams had approached her while she was standing at her apartment door, holding the baton and banging it on a nearby table. She said he ignored her request to leave and that she was afraid he would hit her with the baton.

The first GPD officer to arrive attempted to calm Williams down by talking to him, and Williams reportedly dropped the baton when ordered to do so, but he allegedly went back and tried to pick it up again a short time later. The officer was able to restrain Williams in a standing position until backup arrived.

When the second officer arrived, Williams was allegedly struggling with the first officer. When the second officer took Williams’ arm, he allegedly began to struggle more, and they took him to the ground. One officer sat on his legs, and Williams allegedly kicked the officer and tried to grab anything he could, including the officers themselves, their firearms, and a radio. Williams was reportedly handcuffed at that point.

The two officers were able to move Williams to the back seat of a patrol car, but he was able to free one hand from the cuff and allegedly began attacking the officers with closed fists. He allegedly grabbed one officer’s Taser, pulling so hard that the Velcro began to separate from the officer’s vest. Both officers deployed their Tasers at Williams, but they were reportedly ineffective because the probes became stuck in his shirt and did not penetrate the skin.

More officers arrived and Williams was reportedly handcuffed a second time but allegedly continued to fight, trying to pull one officer’s firearm from its holster. He also allegedly pulled on an officer’s shoe until the shoelace broke.

Williams has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, three counts of battery on an officer, obstructing the police, resisting arrest without violence, and resisting arrest with violence. He is being held on $175,000 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. 

  • No, mental illness. I saw him walking down the street this past week, he’s a homeless man who’s been in town for a number of years now..

  • AKA Vagrant. To say someone is “homeless” implies they are actually seeking a permanent home instead of wanting to live care-free, mooch off the system, and be a vagabond. Mental illness and drug use are not mutually exclusive, by the way. They seem to go hand-in-hand with a lot of the people at GRACE.

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