Pre-Crime: Man Arrested, Sent for Mental Health Evaluation After Purchasing Guns
David J. Pyles of Medford, Oregon was awakened early Monday morning by a call from a hostage negotiator asking him to come outside and speak to police. At first, Pyles thought it was a practical joke, but after looking through a window, he realized the seriousness of the matter. Approximately twelve SWAT officers had closed off portions of his street and were awaiting his surrender.
Mr. Pyle, you see, was put on administrative leave by a supervisor at the Oregon Department of Transportation. According to Mr. Pyle, the dispute was being handled through his union, but his supervisor at ODOT alerted police that Mr. Pyle may be a disgruntled worker.
After police investigated, they found that Mr. Pyle had purchased several handguns, a shotgun and an AK-47 after being put on leave, prompting them to act “preemptively” instead of “reactively.”
According to the Mail Tribune, Mr. Pyle was then detained by police outside of his home:
“They asked him to come out and said they wouldn’t handcuff him, arrest him or take him off the property,” Starrett recounted.
However, Pyles said, he then was handcuffed and taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center for evaluation.
“Because we had information that he could be a danger to others, we wanted a medical professional to evaluate him,” Medford police chief Randy Schoen said.
Police have maintained that Pyles’ surrender was voluntary, but Starrett noted that an intimidating presence of officers with rifles and SWAT gear can force people to agree to things they wouldn’t normally do.
“The thing that is really troubling to us is that this was not an arrest,” he said. “People in protective custody don’t even have the rights a person who has been arrested does.”
When undergoing a mental health screening, a person doesn’t have a guaranteed right to an attorney, for example, he said.
The evaluation took several hours and Pyles was released before noon on Monday.
No charges were filed in the case, Mr. Pyle was cleared of any mental health deficiencies and his weapons have since been returned.
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Date: March 13th, 2010
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