Man causes minor injuries to four police in scuffle


A man got into a scuffle with police at Palo Alto's Opportunity Center and caused minor injuries to four police officers before he was arrested, according to Palo Alto police.

Richard Alexander Lay, 24, an East Palo Alto resident, was receiving services at the Opportunity Center at 33 Encina Ave. when he allegedly began creating disturbances over a two-day period. Staff had called police to intervene four times, Sgt. Kara Apple said.

The incidents took place Nov. 13 and 14. Lay left the center at 8:30 a.m. on the second day, just as police were on the way to intervene. He returned at 10:30 a.m. and continued to create a disturbance. Center workers asked him to leave, but he refused, Apple said.

Opportunity Center employees had tried to talk with Lay to get him to agree to adhere to the center's rules, but he refused, she said.

Staff asked police to tell Lay that he was not welcome back and he would be arrested for trespassing if he returned and refused to leave. Officers barred Lay from entering the building, and they repeatedly warned him he would be arrested if he disobeyed. But Lay ignored the officers and went inside anyway, Apple said.

Three officers detained him, and although he was not initially combative, he began resisting. At one point he elbowed an officer in the face while pulling his arm away, as policed wrestled him to the ground. Lay allegedly continued to resist officers. Four officers received injuries while trying to subdue him, Apple said.

One officer injured his hand and was taken to the hospital for an evaluation. Three other officers received various abrasions to hands, legs wrists and elbows.

Lay would not go peaceably into the squad car, and twice kicked at another officer, she said.

"We had a lot of officers out there," Apple said, noting a subsequent 911 brought out additional police because a large crowd of onlookers had formed.

"He was challenging the officers to a fight. It could have been much worse," Apple said.

Lay, who is on probation for vandalism in Alameda County, was arrested for battery on a peace officer, causing injury to an officer (both felonies) and trespassing, she said.


Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I'd be this is one reason that police resort to the use of firearms and deadly force.
Not always but sometimes. If my job demanded that I peacefully confront and
deal with violent people, even on the days that I might not feel so good, or want
to hassle with dirtbags ... I think I'd resort of the Taser or the nightstick or the gun

I've always thought it was unreasonable to expect police to have to deal with
criminals or out of control people in some kind of fair right ... the criminals have
stepped over the line and the law has a right to respond reasonably, which I do
not think should mean having to risk life and limb unnecessarily on behalf of
people who do not even care about their own lives or limbs.

I am not talking about officers being able to be out of control, so do not mistake

I hope all the officers are OK and I hope the city rethinks its Taser policy, which I
believe is no Tasers? Is that right?

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

This so-called opportunity center is just an excuse to cause Palo Alto a ton of problems. Time to shut it down.

Like this comment
Posted by tivity
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by BarronParker
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm

BarronParker is a registered user.

With a record like this, I would nominate Mr. Lay as one of the 20 most special people to share in our recently announced $250,000 grant for the most seriously "at risk" homeless people in Palo Alto.

The guilt-ridden Palo Alto City Council has determined that we identify the most dangerous and criminal homeless people and spend $12,500 on each to change their lives for the better.

By his actions, Mr Lay appears to have a high risk of recidivism into felony assault. Surely this is someone we should be encouraging to live in our fair city! Just a short walk from Palo Alto High.

Like this comment
Posted by iSez
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

iSez is a registered user.

Agree with all of you, especially "CrescentParkAnon". Criminals seem to have more rights than law enforcement. Police officers have to put up with so much crap. I had no idea tasers were illegal here - time to bring them back.

Wonder what kind of punishment Lay will get. Probably less than what those officers endured.

Like this comment
Posted by bobgnote
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 21, 2013 at 11:09 am

bobgnote is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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