State of Alabama
from Houston Juvenile Court (JU-13-378.16; JU-13-378.17)
a juvenile, was adjudicated delinquent based on the juvenile
court's finding that he committed the offenses of
second-degree assault, JU-13-378.16, a violation §
13A-6-21(a)(4), Ala. Code 1975, and resisting arrest,
JU-13-378.17, a violation of § 13A-10-41, Ala. Code
1975. The juvenile court placed T.D.F. on
probation and ordered T.D.F. to complete the Pathway
Residential Treatment Program. Probation was to be reviewed
in six months. This appeal followed.
Christopher Thompson with the Dothan Police Department
testified that on April 7, 2017, at approximately 4:50 p.m.,
he and Officer Lindsay Holloway, who were patrolling in
separate vehicles, responded to an emergency 911 call made by
S.F. reporting her son, T.D.F., as being a disorderly
juvenile. Officer Holloway arrived at S.F.'s home, 343
Darlington Circle, before Officer Thompson. After speaking
with S.F., Officer Holloway contacted Officer Thompson and
told him that T.D.F. had left S.F.'s home on foot and was
walking toward 3rd Avenue carrying two red suitcases.
Thompson testified that he and Officer Holloway originally
wanted only to find T.D.F. and talk to him to find out what
was going on and to find out if he was running away from
home. The officers knew that T.D.F. had a juvenile probation
officer; they intended to contact T.D.F.'s probation
officer to see what needed to be done, depending on the
situation. Officer Holloway located T.D.F. on Donna Drive.
When Officer Thompson arrived at that location, he observed
Officer Holloway outside her vehicle and T.D.F. walking away
from her while she was ordering him to talk to her. Officer
Thompson drove his vehicle past T.D.F. and Officer Holloway
to the next intersection to block T.D.F. from walking away.
When Officer Thompson got out of his vehicle, "[T.D.F.]
began yelling 'f*ck y'all'.... He was out in the
middle of the street doing that." (R. 27.) Officer
Thompson affirmed that "[y]elling 'f*ck
y'all' to the police is not illegal." (R. 28.)
Officer Thompson stated that he
"informed [T.D.F.] to 'come here' so [he] could
talk to him. [T.D.F.] refused. [T.D.F.] started using very
colorful language. Again, I told him to come here again. I
grabbed the tail of his shirt. At that point [T.D.F.] became
very aggressive, started flailing his arms, and at some point
Officer Holloway was struck."
(R. 14.) Officer Thompson stated that he was authorized to
lay hands on T.D.F. because T.D.F. was given a lawful order
to stop and did not comply.
"Q. [Defense Counsel:] ... Is that something that
you're allowed to do as a police officer, to put hands on
"A. [Officer Thompson:] Yes, ma'am. I gave him a
lawful order to stop so that we can investigate a potential
"Q. And the potential crime being?
"A. He was a runaway juvenile, off of his medication,
acting disorderly, possibly involved in domestic
Thompson explained that, "once [he] grabbed
[T.D.F.'s] shirt, ... that's when the physical
response from [T.D.F.] happened." (R. 25.)
"Immediately when [T.D.F.] began flailing his arms and
continuing to yell profanities, [Officer Thompson] informed
him that he was going to be placed under arrest." (R.
26.) Officer Thompson testified that there was no time to
tell T.D.F. what he was under arrest for because everything
happened quickly. However, Officer Thompson also testified
that he told T.D.F. that he was under arrest for disorderly
conduct. However, Officer Thompson stated that T.D.F. was
told to stop resisting so the officers could investigate
whether he was a runaway juvenile who was off his medication
and also, possibly involved in domestic violence.
"[T.D.F.] struck Officer Holloway and continued to throw
punches at both of [the officers]." (R. 15.) T.D.F.
punched Officer Holloway in her face with his fist. T.D.F.
was "flailing violently." (R. 16.) Officer Thompson
was able to get one handcuff on T.D.F.'s right wrist
before all three individuals fell to the ground in the middle
of street. T.D.F. was cursing the entire time. Officer
Thompson guessed that it took possibly as long as two minutes
to gain control over T.D.F. Officer Holloway was injured
during the melee. Ultimately, T.D.F. was taken to the Dothan
Police Department to talk with an investigator, but he
Holloway with the Dothan Police Department stated that on
April 7, 2017, she was dispatched to 343 Darlington Circle as
Officer Thompson's backup officer. She arrived before
Officer Thompson and she spoke with S.F.
"My understanding was that [T.D.F.] came home from
school, I believe, and [S.F.] said that he was not acting
right. [T.D.F.] had been throwing things around the house and
she said he was going to leave. He was going to pack his bags
and leave. She said he was not on his medicine.... I asked her
if she wanted me to bring him back to the house if I made
contact with him, and she said, 'No, ' she did not
want him there."
(R. 36.) Officer Holloway assumed that, because S.F. did not
want T.D.F. returned home, she wanted the officers to contact
T.D.F.'s probation officer. Officer Holloway clarified
that S.F. "never" said anything about domestic
violence or indicated that she wanted T.D.F. arrested. (R.
37.) Officer Holloway said that, because she thought [T.D.F.]
was off of his medication, there needed to be a welfare check
on him to make sure he was okay and that that was what she
intended to do. Officer Holloway testified that S.F. did not
tell her that S.F. had called the police a second time to
inform the dispatcher that the officers were no longer needed
because the situation had resolved itself and that T.D.F. was
going to stay with his aunt.
Holloway left S.F.'s house and soon saw T.D.F. walking
with his suitcases in the street on Donna Drive. Officer
Holloway stated that she parked her vehicle
"catty-corner" to T.D.F.'s path and got out of
her vehicle. (R. 30.) She saw Officer Thompson arriving. When
she got out of her vehicle, she "attempted to contact
[T.D.F.], " but he started "cussing at [her],
yelling 'F you.'" (R. 30.) Meanwhile, Officer
Thompson parked his vehicle "about four car
lengths" in front of T.D.F., who was still walking down
the street away from Officer Holloway toward Officer
Thompson. (R. 30.) T.D.F. stopped about 10 feet in front of
Officer Thompson's vehicle. T.D.F., "threw the
suitcases down and tried to take off when [the officers] were
trying to get him to come talk to [them]." (R. 31.)
"Officer Thompson pulled the back of [T.D.F.'s]
shirttail to try to get him to stop, and that's when the
fight started." (R. 31.)
"Officer Thompson and [T.D.F.] started fighting.
[Officer Thompson] tried to get his arm behind [T.D.F.] and
place [T.D.F.] under arrest, and so I went to attempt to grab
the other arm -- I believe it was [T.D.F.'s] left arm. So
there was one of us on each side and we just -- we could not
get [T.D.F.] to the ground. Every time we would tell him to
stop resisting, he would fight a little harder."
(R. 31.) Officer Holloway believed that Officer Thompson
advised T.D.F. that he was under arrest. Officer Holloway
testified that T.D.F. was being arrested for disorderly
conduct because he had failed to obey a lawful order from
Officer Thompson. While the officers attempted to get the
handcuffs on T.D.F., T.D.F. struck Officer Holloway on her
right jaw with his fist. Immediately, she could not hear from
her right ear, and her hearing did not return for two
weeks.She had to go to the emergency room
immediately following the incident and then see a doctor two
or three times over a three-week period. She also had an
"extremely bruised collarbone, " a bruised tail
bone, and scratches on her knees and elbows. (R. 32.)
Additionally, her Costa brand sunglasses were broken and her
G-Shock brand watch was shattered.
State rested its case, and T.D.F. moved for a judgment of
acquittal, arguing that there had been no prima facie case of
criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. The juvenile court
granted the motion as to the criminal-mischief charge but
deferred ruling on the disorderly-conduct charge.
testified that when he came home from school on April 7,
2017, he was mad and he got "into it" with his
grandmother who was at his home -- it was not physical.
Because he was mad, he decided to go to his aunt's house.
He had his clothes and a game in his suitcases and he planned
to stay the weekend with his aunt. His mother, S.F., knew
those were his plans, and she had no objection. When he
encountered the police on Donna Street, Officer Holloway
pulled up, and he just looked at her and kept walking. T.D.F.
denied that he dropped his suitcases and tried to run from
the officers. He said that Officer Thompson got in front of
him, and T.D.F. did not want to talk to the officers, so he
tried to walk away, but according to T.D.F., Officer Thompson
grabbed him without saying anything to T.D.F. When Officer
Thompson grabbed T.D.F.'s shirt, Officer Holloway grabbed
his leg. Then the officers were trying to talk, but T.D.F.
told them that he did not have to talk to them. Then, the
officers began trying to handcuff T.D.F., and T.D.F. stated
that he was not going to be handcuffed because he knew he had
not done anything wrong. T.D.F. said a third officer, Officer
Jay Arnold, arrived and choked him, and that's when he
began using profanity and when they got the handcuffs on
T.D.F. He was never told that he was under arrest, and the
officers never said he was being disorderly or resisting
arrest. He did not throw any punches during his struggle with
the officers, and specifically, he testified, he did not
punch Officer Holloway.
testified that on April 7, 2017, T.D.F. was 16 years old. She
telephoned for the police because T.D.F. was mad and was
being loud. She explained that T.D.F. was mad because his
grandmother had forgotten to pick him up from school and he
had had to walk home. S.F. told the dispatcher to send an
officer to her house. By the time S.F. got off the telephone,
T.D.F. had calmed down, so S.F. telephoned his aunt and
arranged for T.D.F. to go to the aunt's house. S.F.
called the emergency 911 dispatcher again and told her not to
send the police because the situation had been resolved, but
the dispatcher said she was sending an officer anyway. S.F.
also explained that T.D.F. had probably not taken his
medicine, but that it was not working as well as it used to
and probably needed adjusting. S.F. testified that she did
tell Officer Holloway about her second call to emergency 911
canceling her request for an officer. S.F. did not say that
T.D.F. was a runaway or that he had committed a crime or done
anything to cause him to be arrested or that he was dangerous
or that he needed to be taken off the streets. He had not
done anything physical, it was "just his mouth."
(R. 55.) That was why she called for the police. She
explained to the officer that T.D.F. had been mad about being
left at school, and that he gets loud and fussy when his
medicine is not right. She further told Officer Holloway that
the situation was under control and that T.D.F. was on his
way to his aunt's house. S.F. never said that T.D.F. had
thrown anything. Officer Holloway told S.F. that she intended
to look for T.D.F. anyway, and she asked S.F. if she wanted
T.D.F. brought home. S.F. told Officer Holloway not to bring
T.D.F. home because he was spending the weekend with his
aunt. S.F. testified that about five months earlier T.D.F.
behaved the same way, and S.F. had called for the police.
That time, the police came to her house and they talked to
T.D.F. and calmed him down and that was what she was
expecting this time, but the situation resolved itself before
the police arrived. According to S.F., she explained all that
to Officer Holloway.
close of all the evidence, T.D.F. moved for a judgment of
acquittal, arguing that the police had no probable cause to
stop him. He argued that his mother had testified that, even
though he had been loud, he was not dangerous, he was not a
runaway, she knew where he was going, and there had been no
domestic violence. He was walking down the street when the
police tried to stop him and talk to him, but then they
prevented him from walking away by physically detaining him
without any probable cause to believe that he had done
anything wrong. The State responded that T.D.F. was a
16-year-old minor on the streets shortly following a display
of bad behavior that caused his mother to telephone emergency
911 for help. T.D.F. left home under these circumstances. The
State argued that the police had every reason to approach
T.D.F. to investigate the situation for which they had been
summoned. The State argued that at the time T.D.F. was
arrested, the arrest was "just and there was probable
cause." (R. 60.)
juvenile court entered a judgment for an acquittal as to the
disorderly-conduct charge, but refused to enter a judgment of
acquittal as to the second-degree assault and
resisting-arrest charges. The ...