Thursday, June 13, 2024

Idaho man accused of assaulting police officer

by Jeff Smith/For the Leader
| June 6, 2024 12:00 AM

An Idaho man is accused of fighting with a Polson Police officer after being called into law enforcement as a possible prowler.

Nathaniel Erwan Bird, 38, entered a plea of not guilty in Polson District Court May 23 to felony charges of assault on a peace or judicial officer and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

According to court records, on April 28 Polson Police responded to a report of a prowler going through vehicles. The reporting party believed the prowler was using a screwdriver to gain access to vehicles in the neighborhood.

The man calling in the report said he and his family had confronted the man, and the man pointed a “finger gun” at all of them and told them they were dead. When the family advised the man they were calling the police, he left the area.

Polson Police officer Michael Wharton responded to the area and located a male near the 7th Ave W. Skate Park matching the description he’d been given of the alleged prowler. Officer Wharton asked the man, later identified as Bird, to remove his hands from his pocket or he would be detained.

Bird allegedly refused orders to get on the ground and argued with Officer Wharton. Officer Wharton warned Bird that he would deploy his stun gun if he did not comply with his orders. After Bird failed to comply, Wharton discharged his stun gun but with no effect. Bird then made threats to Wharton and was hit with the stun gun a second time, still with no effect.

After the second failed attempt with the stun gun, Bird allegedly “squared up” as if to fight Wharton. Wharton tackled Bird and held him to the ground before securing him with handcuffs. The officer reported receiving a small cut to his lip during the struggle.

Later, Bird was allegedly found to be in possession of a pipe, commonly used for ingesting drugs, and a small amount of methamphetamine.

Judge John A. Mercer set a trial date of Oct. 7. Bird remains in the Lake County Jail with bail set at $15,000.