Monday, May 29, 2023

Fort Bragg Police Respond to Reports of Naked Man Who Flees, Steals Car, and Later Arrested at Taser Point


The following is a press released issued by the Fort Bragg Police Department. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

Matthew Russell [Mugshot from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Booking Logs]

On 04/16/2021, at approximately 12:53 p.m., Officers were dispatched to the 500 block of S. Main Street for a report of a naked white male adult standing on the sidewalk in front of 544 S. Main Street. Officers subsequently responded and contacted the subject in front of the business.

Upon contact with the subject, he displayed objective symptoms of being under the influence of a controlled substance and displayed erratic behavior. He charged at Officers multiple times and made statements indicating that he did not believe Officers were actual Law Enforcement. The male subject was later identified as Matthew Russell.

Officers attempted to verbally de-escalate the situation with Russell and have him remain on the sidewalk for his safety while awaiting medical staff. Russell subsequently fled northbound through private property and Officers requested additional law enforcement assistance from our neighboring agencies.

While searching for Russell, Officers heard shouting in the alleyway to the east near Rantala Sheet Metal and Heating. Upon arriving in the area, Russell was observed inside the driver’s seat of a business’ van being confronted by two employees. Russell was observed with a facial injuries and immediately closed the car door upon Officer’s arrival.

Officer’s continued to try to verbally deescalate the situation and have Russell exit the vehicle as he began driving the vehicle southbound through the alleyway.

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Officer’s pursued Russell on foot as he drove southbound through the alley approaching Walnut Street. Concerned that Russell was entering the pedestrian heavy areas of Safeway or Starbucks, Officers escalated their approach by smashing the driver side window of the vehicle and extracting Russell at Taser point. Russell was safely taken into custody with minimal force and his injuries were determined to have occurred when he was confronted by the van’s owners.

Russell was medically cleared due to his elevated state and the facial injuries he received while attempting to steal the van. During the medical clearance process Russell admitted to the recent use of methamphetamine and he was transported to County Jail where he is still being held.

The Police Department would like to thank the initial witness who reported this intoxicated subject to law enforcement, as well as the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol for their assistance in safely concluding this incident. The Fort Bragg Police Department hopes the public recognizes that these types of calls for service involving individuals with mental health issues and controlled substance use have the ability to quickly escalate causing immediate and unanticipated danger to the public. Our Department would also like to recognize the responding Officers, Officer Zavala and Officer McHugh, for their ability to safely de-escalate this potentially deadly situation with no injury to the public and minimal property damage. Questions regarding this press release may be directed to Captain O’Neal at (707) 961-2800 ext. 120 or at toneal@fortbragg.com.

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  1. GET THIS GUY OFF THE STREETS BEFORE HE HURTS SOMEBODY. should be the cry from every citizen in your town. if you arent ready to give him medical help, if he dont want it, jail his sorry a$$..

  2. Thank you to the officers who handled this arrest with what sounds like professionalism! Good for you!!! I’m sure you had to exert a lot more energy and exercise a lot of self control! And I’m sure it was time consuming. And you could’ve chosen a different outcome. But thank you for not going all out gangsta on the guy. I see you being “have” and behaving and I applaud you. As do many others, I am sure. Thank you!

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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