General Crime

Man Arrested After Police Officer’s Eye is Injured in Confrontation

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A 33-year-old transient who allegedly tried to gouge out the eye of a Santa Cruz police officer trying to arrest him Wednesday in Santa Cruz has been booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail, police said. Robert Craig was taken into custody on suspicion of felony battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, attempted mayhem and threats on an officer, according to police Lt. Bernie Escalante.

His arrest followed a bizarre alleged attempt to pull a passing motorcyclist off of his motorcycle while it traveled through an intersection, Escalante said. At about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday, an officer witnessed Craig standing in the middle of a roundabout at Pacific Avenue and Center Street when the suspect tried to grab the motorcyclist, he said. When the officer contacted Craig about it, the suspect became agitated and confrontational and refused to comply with the officer’s commands, according to police.

Craig then allegedly attacked the officer, wrapped his arms around him in a “bear hug” and attempted to gouge out one of the officer’s eyes before the officer broke free. The officer used his Taser on Craig but it was not effective, police said. Craig then fled on foot southbound on Pacific Avenue for a couple of blocks and other officers who had arrived to assist spotted him near Beach Street. Craig allegedly remained agitated and uncooperative but the officers subdued him with their Tasers and placed him under arrest.

The officer who first encountered Craig suffered significant injuries to his eye, was treated and released at Dominican Hospital. He will need further eye care, however, and it is not know when he may return to work, Escalante said. Craig, of no known address, was treated for minor injuries prior to being booked into jail. He was arrested in November on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and had a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court to face the charge, according to Escalante.

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