ST. GEORGE – Four police officers drew their weapons on a St. George man last week who pulled a knife at a grocery store after he was escorted from the store when he refused to leave on his own.
Officers responded to Harmon’s Neighborhood Grocer located at 1189 E. 700 South in St. George on report of a suspicious person, according to probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department in support of the arrest.
When officers arrived, they spoke with 22-year-old Braedan Aaric Smith who store security had requested leave the store or be liable for trespass.
When Smith was asked to leave the store, he refused, the statement read. Instead, he turned and walked away from officers, prompting them to grab Smith’s arms and escort him out of the store.
Once outside, Smith took a couple of steps from the officers and then reached into his front right pocket, according to the statement. Then, one police officer yelled: “Drop the weapon!”
“I saw Braedan’s right hand as it was coming out of his pocket and I saw a silver knife in his right hand,” the arresting officer wrote in the statement. “I could hear and see as Braedan opened the knife. Braedan held the knife down to his right side and began to turn to his right side toward (the officers).”
At this point, the report stated, four police officers had their weapons drawn on Smith, ordering him: “Drop your weapon!”
“When Braedan turned around,” the officer wrote in his statement, “he stepped towards officers with the weapon in his hands and he was within proximity that he could have assaulted the officers with the weapon and caused death or serious harm. Braedan only complied after being told multiple times to drop the weapon and he saw 4 firearms pointed at him.”
Smith finally complied by dropping the knife and getting on the ground. He was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility where he was questioned about the incident.
“Braedan admitted he removed the knife from his pocket but he insisted the knife was already open before he pulled it out,” the officer wrote. “Braedan was asked why he pulled the knife out (and) he stated he just wanted to hold the things in his front pocket and the knife was the only thing in his front pocket.”
Smith was booked into the correctional facility on charges of second-degree felony assault against a police officer, along with class A misdemeanor threat or use of a dangerous weapon in a fight.
Judge Jeffrey Wilcox, of the 5th District Court, ordered $10,000 bail for Smith’s release pending trial.
He was found indigent by the court during his initial court appearance Thursday and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Michael Lastowski.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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