A man suspected of violating a protection order was tased this month by a Cortez police officer who was reprimanded last year for having anger-management issues.
In a three-page report, patrol officer Casey Eubanks wrote that he was dispatched to the Sleeping Ute Apartments on S. Madison Street at 3:49 a.m. on May 8, because Sheldon Shorty, 24, of Towaoc was at the apartment complex. Eubanks said dispatchers told him that a protection order required Shorty to remain 100 yards from the location.
Eubanks reported that he saw the suspect “step off the property” with a beer can and walk across the street. After leaving his patrol car, Eubanks said asked Sheldon if they could talk, but Shorty continued walking.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that fleeing from police is not, by itself, illegal. The court has made clear that in safe neighborhoods, people not suspected of criminal activity can ignore a police officer who approaches them, even to the point of walking away.
Eubanks wrote that he again asked the suspect if they could talk, but Shorty began running.
“I chased Sheldon, I noticed I was not gaining any ground,” Eubanks wrote.
Continuing the pursuit, Eubanks reportedly pulled his stun gun, warning, “I’m gonna Tase you bro.” He wrote that he yelled the warning twice more.
“I then tasered Sheldon, Sheldon stumbled and fell to the ground. I got on top of Sheldon and ordered him to stop running,” wrote Sheldon.
After being handcuffed with assistance from another officer, Shorty reportedly sat up, and said he let the officer catch him, Eubanks wrote. One Taser probe was removed from the suspect’s side, and another was collected from the street, according to Eubanks.
After receiving a medical clearance from the local hospital, Shorty was taken to jail, and booked on four counts including obstruction, resisting arrest and violating a protection order.
Free on bond, Shorty also faces pending first-degree burglary and second- and third-degree assault charges. He has been accused of beating the mother of his son last fall at the Sleeping Ute Apartment complex. A trial in that case has been set for Aug. 3.
Court records reveal the alleged 20-year-old woman was punched in the face, head-butted and kicked in the ribs inside her S. Madison Street home on Oct. 5, 2014. After that incident, she told police that Shorty went to her home uninvited within weeks of being released from prison.
During a 2014 Make My Day case in which Eubanks was the arresting officer, a colleague testified that police failed to issue a verbal warning before using a stun gun. The defendant in that arrest was tased seven times, including five times within a 2½ minutes while in handcuffs.
Although Eubanks didn’t deploy a Taser during the 2014 case, which ended in an acquittal, the department reprimanded him four days after the arrest for destroying city property in an act of rage. Eubanks was ordered to seek anger-management counseling.
“While at work, you need to have a clear mind and be able to concentrate on work, this is for your safety as well as your fellow officers and the public’s safety,” the reprimand letter stated.
Listed as an average employee according to performance records, Eubanks has served as Cortez police officer since July 2012.