A Forsyth officer says he’s taken verbal abuse while trying to enforce the law four different times in the last week since returning to patrol in the city.
Officer Jeremy Malone is the city’s code enforcement officer but returned to patrol last week due to a shortage of officers. It hasn’t been easy.
Around 12:10 p.m. on Thursday, June 3 Malone spotted a gold Ford Crown Victoria playing loud music. Malone caught up to the vehicle at the second entrance to Union Hill Apartments and initiated a traffic stop. The driver, later identified as Caleb Axom, 28, then sped up quickly, pulled to the right and came to an abrupt stop.
As Malone was walking up to the Crown Vic, Axom leaned his head out of the window and yelled, “What the hell you f***ing with me for?” He continued yelling and cursing the officer as Malone was explaining the reason for the stop and Malone told him to be careful or he would be arrested for disorderly conduct.
Axom then turned his music up to a level where Malone was barely able to speak over the volume. The officer asked him to turn the music down twice, but he did not respond. He then ordered Axom to step from his car and he turned the music down but, did not exit even after being told multiple times to unlock the door and step out of the vehicle.
Malone then reached into the driver’s side door, unlocked the doors, and opened the door but he still refused to step out of the vehicle. After being told he would be arrested, he stepped out but, told Malone not to touch him and walked past him towards the rear of his car. Malone tried to stop him from walking away, but he told him not to touch him and snatched away.
Malone then pulled out his handcuffs and had to pull Axom’s arms several times to get him where he could place handcuffs on him. He refused to obey verbal commands and continuously pulled away while being taken into custody. Finally, after having to pin him against the back of his car and pulling him back when he was trying to snatch away, Malone was able to cuff him.
Malone then tried to walk him to his patrol vehicle, and Axom refused to get in the car and began pulling away. While Malone opened the door and was placing him inside, several agitated people gathered around and began yelling at the officer. Axom was arrested and cited for 2 counts of obstruction, loud music, and 2 counts of disorderly conduct. Malone received a cut on his left hand at the base of his thumb due to the scuffle.
Malone told the Reporter he’s had four such incidents of large crowds gathering around him to harass him while trying to enforce the law in Forsyth in the past week. Several times bystanders have broadcast his efforts on Facebook live. Malone said he’s fine with that because his cameras are rolling all the time too.
“It seems to be aimed toward me, which I prefer to other officers being harassed,” said Malone.
Malone said local managers ask police to keep order and enforce the law and he sees it as his duty to get involved, even if it doesn’t make him popular with some.
“If we bow down, then why are we there?” asked Malone rhetorically. Malone said he’s had the support of his supervisor and will be getting backup from other city officers and county deputies if needed.
Malone said he’s doing it for the good people in neighborhoods like Union Hill who want police out there, but can’t speak up because the community may turn against them.