ROCKLAND, Maine — A 21-year-old Washington man arrested two months ago while under the influence of bath salts for using an infant as a shield to avoid arrest will serve no more than 90 days in jail under an agreement approved in court Wednesday, Feb. 29.
Tony G. Bartlett entered guilty pleas in Knox County Superior Court on charges of assaulting an officer, endangering the welfare of a child, refusing to submit to arrest, obstructing government administration and disorderly conduct.
The agreement approved by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm that had been reached between the district attorney’s office and defense was a deferred disposition. Under this arrangement, if Bartlett refrains from any additional criminal conduct and undergoes counseling over the next 12 months, the assault on an officer charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor assault charge. Under the agreement, Bartlett would be sentenced to 364 days in jail with all but 90 days suspended. The 90 days is the maximum he would serve and the defense would be able to argue for less time at the sentencing hearing next year.
If Bartlett violates the agreement, the judge would be able to impose any sentence allowed under the law.
Bartlett was arrested on Dec. 27 after Knox County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Michael Sprague responded to a domestic disturbance call at a Washington home. When the officer arrived, he was let into the home and saw Bartlett holding his 6-month-old son in his arms. The officer said Bartlett became aggressive, blocked the officer’s path and told Sprague he could not question his girlfriend about the reason for the call to police, according to a police report filed in court.
Bartlett relented and allowed the girlfriend to go outside but Sprague remained in the doorway to keep an eye on the suspect. Bartlett then tried to slam the door on Sprague, striking the officer’s foot and leg, according to the report. The officer then informed Bartlett that he was under arrest and asked him to give the baby to someone else in the house.
Bartlett refused, the report states, and the officer said he felt that the suspect was using the baby as a shield. Bartlett’s father attempted to assist by trying to get the baby from his son but the suspect tightened his grip on the baby, causing the baby to scream.
Sprague tried to knee Tony Bartlett in the stomach but the suspect moved and was struck in the groin, the report says. This allowed Bartlett’s father to take the baby from his son.
Bartlett refused to submit to arrest and Sprague sprayed a burst of pepper spray in the suspect’s face but it did not work. The officer then used a Taser and three times shocked the suspect who eventually rolled onto his stomach to be handcuffed. One hand was cuffed when Bartlett resisted again and the officer administered another jolt, but by this time the wires to the probe were broken and Sprague had to reload with another cartridge and zap him again the police report states.
After another dose of pepper spray, the officer was able to get the cuffs on Bartlett but the suspect continued to resist and the man’s father helped the officer hold Bartlett down until another officer arrived.
Bartlett eventually was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport where it was confirmed the suspect had taken the hallucinogenic synthetic drug bath salts, the police report states. The report also indicates that Bartlett apologized to the officer and said he needed help.