Ex-Cop Jailed After Taunting Neighbor With Shotgun and “Stand Your Ground” Sign
FlaglerLive | December 3, 2012
Note: The aggravated assault charge against Douglas Pulaski was dropped in January 2013, and the weapons offense moved to county court, where that charge was dropped in April 2013. The case is closed.
Whispering Pines Drive in Palm Coast is a loopy residential street that arcs in the shape of a camel’s humps from two sides of Whipporwill Drive. At the westernmost entrance to Whispering Pines, the lawn of the house at the corner of the two streets is elaborately decorated for Christmas–lights, manger scene, colors.
Four lots down, on the other side of the street, the house at 140 Whispering Pines presents a sharply landscaped front yard, a wreath on the door and the hint of Christmas lights glinting from inside a window. But the loudest eye-catchers outside are two big, orange, red and white NO TRESPASSING signs (“violators will be prosecuted” appears in smaller letters). One of them is hammered on a pine tree on the north side of the house. The other is planted squarely in the middle of the yard, a few feet in front of the entrance, dissonant not only with its manicured surroundings but with a more modest, hand-painted sign attached to a leaning branch behind it that says in white paint: “Welcome friends,” with a red heart between the two words.
This evening, as is usually the case at the address, a Dodge Ram 150 sat in the driveway, facing out, its front license plate frame filled with a Confederate flag. It sat next to a hatchback Hyundai, facing in, with the Christian fish symbol next to a bumper sticker that reads THE END.
Perhaps someone was home this evening. The signs on the property suggested it wasn’t wise to find out. As did the events of late Friday and early Saturday morning when, according to a neighbor’s son, who visits his mother on Whispering pines Drive, the owner of the house at 140 Whispering Pines–Douglas Pulaski, 50–had allegedly been menacing and threatening. That night Pulaski, a former police officer (possibly from New York) stood at the edge of his driveway with a 20-gauge shotgun and stared at the 23-year-old man–Rashon Mays of Palm Coast–and his friend, a 19-year-old woman, as they were getting to Mays’ mother’s house.
The two victims, according to a police report, asked Pulaski why he was staring at them. Pulaski proceeded to point to a hand-painted sign in his driveway (not in evidence this evening) that said: “Stand Your Ground.”
“Read the sign, because I never miss,” Pulaski told the victims, according to the report. “I don’t miss when I shoot.” The statements, the police report went on, “instilled fear into both of the victims by making both of them feel as if he was going to be come violent with them.” Mays told police that it was the second instance of Pulaski allegedly threatening in in a similar way, and that “it has happened to his mother several times also.”
Cops were called.
“Upon our arrival,” the police report reads, Pulaski, who’s lived at that address since 2009, “was sitting in a lawn chair in his garage with the shotgun in his lap.” The shotgun had one round in the chamber and five in its magazine. Pulaski told deputies that he had been drinking “a lot” throughout the evening. He refused to provide a breath sample.
Pulaski was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. It wasn’t his first arrest locally. He was jailed on a drunk driving charge in 2010, though the charge was dismissed. On his latest arrest, bond was set at $3,250, which he posted.
A day later, Pulaski, in a phone interview, said the police report was one-sided and wrong in several instance. Pulaski acknowledged being in his garage that evening, cleaning his weapons after having been at a gun range for several hours earlier that day. He said he had not been drinking heavily, and that when the confrontation took place, he’d never gone beyond the middle of his driveway, by his truck, or pointed at the “Stand Your Ground” sign. That sign, he said, had been posted in his back yard at one point (because, Pulaski said, he’s had issues with people using his yard as a cross-over). But it wasn’t face up when the confrontation occurred.
“The sign was just laying on the ground, it was a piece of board I was using as a bench top,” Pulaski said. The cops, he said, lifted it up and took pictures. Pulaski said he never uttered the words cited in the police report. “I didn’t say a word to this guy other than to go back to his house, basically, in those terms,” Pulaski said.
As for the confrontation, he said Mays, who has a considerable arrest record dating back to his juvenile days, was “mouthing off” to him and using foul language, and was himself making his way to Pulaski’s property until Mays’s girlfriend urged him back. Pulaski says he has no issue with Mays’s mother, and speaks kindly and respectfully of her. But he had no kind words for Mays, even though he could not say what, if anything, Mays had done to him at any point. None of the matters in Mays’s arrest history have anything to do with Pulaski.
But Pulaski had larger issues: he says when he moved to his house on Whispering Pines, the neighborhood was fine. But it has gone downhill since, and he’s now trying to sell the house, with no success so far. He says he can sometime sit in his yard and hear gunshots in the R Section, and that it was as if he would have to install bars on his windows next, given the troubles around him. “I’m at my wits’ end,” he said. “To have this guy that makes an allegation against me, it’s like a guy throwing stones from a glass house.” The police, he said, have done little.