A math professor at the University of Arkansas at Monticello tells his side of the story of his October 30 arrest. Susan Pruitt’s story was published today in the university’s online newspaper The Voice and reprinted here courtesy of The Voice.
Officers from the University of Arkansas-Monticello’s department of public safety arrested an instructor of Mathematics Oct. 30.
In the police report, Officer Robert Thomason said he received a call from Officer Debbie Haralson to come to the Math and Science Center. When Thomason arrived, he said he saw Haralson standing next to an older white male later identified as Guy Nelson, instructor of Mathematics.
Thomason said he noticed Nelson weaving and swaying, so he put his hand on Nelson’s arm to try to keep him from falling. Nelson told Thomason if he touched him he would be sorry. Both Haralson and Thomason arrested Nelson. Thomason said he did not smell the odor of any intoxicants on Nelson, but his pupils were dilated. Thomason asked him if he was on any medication, and Nelson said it was none of his business. Haralson and Thomason had to assist Nelson down the stairs to keep him from falling.
Nelson said he has been insulin dependent since 1976. He said he must take two injections of insulin everyday just to stay alive.
Nelson said he was in his office grading papers at 8:30 p.m. when his parents called him. He told his parents he felt his blood sugar getting low and would have to go home soon to get something to eat.
“I kept grading for a while though and had to quit when I couldn’t see the numbers anymore. I keep glucose tablets on my desk within easy reach for just such situations, and I certainly wish that I had grabbed a handful and eaten them,” Nelson said.
He also said he visited his nephrologist a few months ago. His doctor told him he has about 40 percent kidney function left. This makes the swings in blood sugar levels much more dramatic.
Nelson said the next thing he remembers is being tightly handcuffed and forced face first through the front of the Math and Science Center’s doors. He said he saw blue lights everywhere. He asked a police officer, who later turned out to be a Monticello police officer, what was going on. The officer shrugged his shoulders and told Nelson he was only there to transport him to the Drew County Detention Facility.
“We got to the Drew County Detention Facility, and one of my former students who worked there was very helpful. She got me some juice and some peanut butter crackers. When they tested my blood sugar level, it was at 48 mg/dL, which is very low,” Nelson said.
Nelson said his former student advised him to post bond, so he could leave. He said he felt the prison industry has grown way out of control in this country.
“Even though I wasn’t quite back in my right mind, I said that there was no way that I would let them bust into the Science Center, cart me off to jail, and get me to pay them money,” Nelson said.
He said the next morning he went to see the judge in an orange jumpsuit, arm shackles and ankle chains. He said the judge had no witnesses or written charges, so he let him go. Nelson told the judge he planned on seeking punitive damages, and the judge agreed with him.
Nelson said he later found out public safety officers had arrested him, and that he was charged with disorderly conduct, terroristic threatening and resisting arrest.
“I regret very much that I missed my first two classes that Wednesday morning. I did make it to my 11:10 class though and was able to do a comprehensive review for test three,” Nelson said.
Nelson’s hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. Nelson said if anyone wants to attend to see what happens, he could certainly use the company.