To the People

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Like 'Columbus Arrested for Yachting Without a License'

Wouldn't it be ironic if a man who wrote this book was arrested for this crime? Why, yes it would, and plain wrong.
A police investigation is under way into how a prominent British historian was treated when he allegedly jaywalked and was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge, Atlanta Mayor Shirely Franklin said Tuesday.

British historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of the 2006 book "Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration," was arrested during last week's annual convention of the American Historians Association.

Fernandez-Armesto said he was handcuffed and jailed for jaywalking across Peachtree Center Avenue on Thursday. A written police account of the incident, released Tuesday, contends the 56-year-old professor refused Officer K.J. Leonpacher's repeated warnings about jaywalking and tried to get away when Leonpacher tried to handcuff him.


At that point, the slightly built historian said, the officer kicked his legs from under him and pinned him to the ground, causing his glasses to fall off. Two other officers assisted in holding him down, said Fernandez-Armesto, who said he suffered a gash on his forehead and a bruise on his wrist as he attempted to break his fall.

"It was the most violence I've ever experienced in my life," said Fernandez-Armesto. "And I was mugged once while at Oxford."

Leonpacher said in his report that Fernandez-Armesto struggled while being arrested and tried to get away:

"I asked him to put his hands behind his back so that he could be handcuffed. He refused. I took his right hand with a firm grip and attempted to place a handcuff on his wrist. He violently pulled away and began to wrestle with me. After about a minute, I was able to wrestle him to the ground where I held on to his right arm as I called for backup."

The report does not mention any injuries to the professor.

Fernandez-Armesto was taken into custody, where he spent the next eight hours along with "extremely unfortunate members of the underclass."
More here from the AJC. Fernandez-Armesto bio here.