SAFFORD – A Safford police officer was dispatched to the Tour Rest Motel last Thursday at approximately 7:00 PM to conduct a welfare check on some children that were reportedly in a bad living environment and did not have any food. While on his way to the call, dispatch advised the officer that the father of the children, Joshua Stewart had a valid warrant for his arrest.
When the officer arrived at the motel he saw a man coming from the parking lot. The man identified himself as Josh Stewart. The officer explained that he was there to conduct a welfare check on his kids. He also explained that Stewart had a warrant for his arrest. The officer told Stewart to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Stewart said that he wanted to call his girlfriend. The officer told him that he could call her in a little while. The officer again told Stewart to place his hands behind his back but Stewart did not comply.
The officer grabbed Stewart’s hand to place the handcuffs on him. Stewart pulled away from the officer and started yelling for his girlfriend. As the officer tried to subdue him, Stewart threatened threatened to knock the officer out if he touched him.
The officer drew his taser and ordered Stewart to get on the ground. Stewart turned and started running on foot. The officer chased him and caught up to him in the parking lot of the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. The officer tried to grab him to subdue him but Stewart pushed him away. The officer drew his taser and deployed it into Stewart’s chest area. Both taser barbs made contact but were ineffective. Stewart apparently yelled and yanked the wires out of the barbs, which remained stuck in him.
Stewart started walking away as the officer called for more units due to Stewart’s combative nature. The officer drew his pepper spray and delivered a burst into Stewart’s head and face area.
Another officer arrived on the scene and took Stewart to the ground. Stewart continued to resist the officers, screaming expletives at them while he tried to fight them off. One of the officers delivered knee strikes to Stewart’s body, which were ineffective. Finally, an officer delivered several strikes to Stewart’s face and he started to comply and authorities were finally able to get handcuffs on him.
Stewart was transported to the hospital where the barbs were removed. He was also treated for the pepper spray. Stewart ultimately admitted that he had used meth about four hours prior to his contact with police.
An officer went back to the hotel and saw that the children were with their mother and had groceries and food on the table. According to the police report, the children appeared to be in good condition.
Stewart was transported to the jail and booked on the warrant. He also faces charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.