On Old Haw Creek Road, a Confrontation So Hostile That a Cop Asks For It To Be Videotaped
FlaglerLive | February 11, 2014
In the last seven months, Stuart Denison has been booked at the Flagler County jail five times, three of those times on domestic battery charges. That third time took place Sunday in what turned into such a harrowing and at times violent confrontation that the arresting officer asked that the arrest be videotaped to protect against potential legal action.
The incident started after 6 p.m. Sunday when Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy George Hristakopoulos, dispatched to Haw Creek Road regarding a domestic disturbance, found the victim 56-year-old woman, sitting on the side of a dirt road just north of her house, crying.
“He said he’d kill me if I called the police,” the victim told Hristakopoulos, who assured her she’d be protected. The victim told the cop that he didn’t know what sort of person he’d be dealing with in Denison. But the sheriff’s office and the Bunnell Police Department, which also got involved, knew about Denison well. “Deputy Meehan cautioned me that Stuart Denison is an extremely violent individual,” Hristakopoulos wrote in his report, citing Meehan’s familiarity with Denison at the jail. “Flagler County Dispatch also cautioned me that there was a long history of domestic violence.” The couple had been co-habitating for eight years
Earlier in the day, according to the report, Denison had gone to Bunnell to pick up some groceries. According to the victim, once he returned, he began arguing with her. The fight escalated. He allegedly broke a leg off a table and used it to smash items in the house. The victim feared for her life.
Deputies were joined by Bunnell Police Department officers (Hristakopoulos had been a member of that department until last year) and made their way to the house, where the homeowner—not Denison—allowed law enforcement into the house then, after pointing our where Denison was, told them she’d be off to hide in her bedroom.
The cops entered the bedroom where Denison was hiding. It was in “complete disarray,” according to the report, with glass all over the floor. Hristakopoulos had seen some movement in the closet. All three cops called the suspect by his name and announced themselves as law enforcement. They ordered him to come out. He didn’t. One of the cops opened the closet door and ordered Denison to show his hands. Denison, according to the report, refused that and additional commands to show his hands.
“Due to the fact that we were uncertain if there were any weapons inside the residence, and the suspects violent history, I was concerned that if Mr. Denison was not apprehended in a swift manner, he may cause someone harm.,” Hristakopoulos reported. “At this time, I was close enough to grab the suspect (still hiding in the closet) by his left hand. I tactically placed Mr. Denison on the floor of the cluttered bedroom, and attempted to place him in handcuffs, which he resisted. With the assistance of Deputy Duenas, I was able to secure Mr. Dennison in handcuffs after a short struggle. I observed that Mr. Denison was bleeding from his arm, and I notified dispatch that Mr. Denison was combative, and that he needed a medical unit to be en route.”
The report does not make clear whether Denison had been bleeding before the confrontation or as a result of it, or whether he had been injured from being taken to the ground, which was covered in glass. He continued to be combative, the report states, but did not strike any of the cops.
Denison then “began to threaten me and other personnel on scene,” Hristakopoulos reports, and he refused medical attention. Denison said he would kill anyone who touched him. “At this point I asked Cpl. Miller to videotape the situation, which he did>’ Hristakopoulos reports. “Mr. Denison then intentionally struck his head onto the trunk of my patrol vehicle (4644) causing some damage to the vehicle.” Once in Hristakopoulos’s patrol vehicle, Denison “repeatedly threatened to kill, among others, me, my family, the President, etc. I began audio taping the drive from Old Haw Creek Road to the [jail] in order to document Mr. Denison’s demeanor and any threats.”
Denison was booked at the jail and charged with criminal mischief, assault-domestic violence, and resisting arrest, then taken to a Stewart-Marchmann Act facility under the Baker Act. As of Tuesday, he remained at the county jail on $1,000 bond.
In an unrelated incident, Michael Testa, the 23-year-old Bunnell resident who’s been arrested eight times since 2010 on charges including burglary, dealing in stolen property, defrauding a pawnbroker, forgery, escape, probation violation and grand theft of a firearm, was again arrested Monday on a domestic battery charge. (See some background of Testa’s previous history here.)
Cops were called to a North Daytona Avenue address in Flagler Beach Monday morning when a neighbor said that Testa and his girlfriend were “kicking the shit out of each other upstairs.” When copes entered the residence, both Testa and his girlfriend were yelling at each other, according to Testa’s latest arrest report. According to oen witness, Testa wanted his girlfriend to drive him around, but she would not. According to another, Testa’s girlfriend was demanding her debit card from him.
Testa told cops that it was a combination of the two issues–he wanted his girlfriend to drive him, she refused, he took her debit card, but then gave it back to her. Both denied that the altercation had been violent, and Testa’s girlfriend was not interested in pursuing charges or sign for a domestic violence packet. Two young children–one is the couple’s son, the other lives with the couple–were “across the street from the residence when the disturbance occurred,” according to the report.
The Department of Children and Families was contacted. Testa was arrested and remained at the jail on Tuesday.