Police arrested a 38-year-old New Braunfels man earlier this month after he allegedly assaulted a Texas State Park police officer and fled in his car.
On the night of March 3 at Guadalupe River State Park in Spring Branch, a state park police officer saw a parked car in the day-use area that belonged to Gerald Brandon Todd.
Todd didn’t have a valid park entrance permit on his windshield, according to an incident report obtained by the Herald-Zeitung through a public records request.
The car was also emitting a “strong odor” of burnt marijuana, the officer said.
When Todd returned to his car, the officer told him that he needed to pay the entry fee. The officer requested Todd’s identification.
“The male did not want to give me his identification and continued to state that he could just pay his fees and leave,” the officer said, noting that he could smell alcohol on Todd’s breath.
Todd then gave the officer a fake name and birthdate, which the officer suspected was false.
The officer told Todd several times “in a calm voice” why he needed his identification.
“I even asked the subject to take a minute to wait in front of his car to calm down,” the officer wrote.
But Todd slowly backpedaled toward his car and attempted to drive away.
The officer grabbed Todd’s wrist and attempted to get him on the ground.
“I commanded the subject multiple times to get on the ground and told him that he was detained,” the officer said. “During the struggle, the subject was able to place me in a headlock. I felt the subject’s arm wrap around my neck.”
The officer pulled away from Todd and grabbed a container of pepper spray.
“The subject picked up my handheld radio and body camera, which fell off during the struggle, and threw them into the woods as he retreated to his vehicle,” the officer wrote.
The officer sprayed Todd in the face with the pepper spray as Todd closed his car door and sped away.
The officer found his radio in the woods and called Comal County Dispatch to report that Todd had fled the scene.
He drove two miles in his patrol truck to find Todd at the park entrance gate.
The officer got out of the patrol truck with his pistol drawn.
Todd got out of his car and lay face down on the ground.
The officer filmed the interaction on his cell phone because his body camera was still in the woods.
He reported that he told Todd several times in a calm voice to put his hands behind his back and get on the ground.
Todd “complained that his eyes hurt and that he was having trouble breathing.”
EMS arrived, and then Comal County deputies transported him to the Comal County Jail.
The officer searched Todd’s car and found “numerous drug paraphernalia items in two black bags.”
The bags had hand-rolled marijuana joints and rolling papers.
The officer also found several opened and unopened cans of hard cider.
Police also found cider cans on the road, where Todd had allegedly thrown them out the window as he fled from the officer.
The State Park police officer was required to complete a “use of force” form after the incident.
The report said Todd had “irritation to (his) eyes, mouth, throat and face” because of the pepper spray.
The officer has reported two prior unrelated incidents at Garner State Park in which he used force against a subject.
Todd was booked into the Comal County Jail and charged with assaulting a peace officer, evading arrest with a vehicle, and resisting arrest.
He was also cited for failing to pay a park entrance fee and possessing drug paraphernalia.
Todd was released from jail on $38,000 bond.
The man has a “previous history of evading from police officers,” according to the incident report.
But that information was redacted from the document provided to the newspaper because it allegedly contained juvenile records.
Guadalupe River State Park day-use entrance fees are $7 for each adult.
Lucky guy, he got pepper spray instead of bullets.
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