Washington man who used baby as shield in police standoff sentenced to 90 days

Posted Feb. 28, 2013, at 11:12 a.m.
Tony Bartlett
Courtesy of Knox County Jail
Tony Bartlett

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 22-year-old Washington man who held a baby in his arms during a brief standoff with police more than 14 months ago was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail.

Tony Bartlett was sentenced by Justice Andrew Horton in Knox County Superior Court to 364 days in jail with all but 90 days suspended. Bartlett also was placed on probation for a year and fined $400 for assault, obstructing government administration and refusing to submit to arrest.

Bartlett will begin serving his sentence Saturday.

According to police, at the time of the December 2011 incident, Bartlett was high on bath salts and had to be shocked with a stun gun six times, pepper-sprayed twice, and kneed in the gut once before officers were able to subdue and arrest him.

The incident began when Bartlett’s girlfriend called police about a domestic dispute in Washington. Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael Sprague responded and was allowed into the house by Bartlett’s father. Bartlett was holding a 6-month-old baby boy and ordered the officer to leave. Bartlett also blocked his girlfriend from leaving the house, according to police.

Eventually Bartlett relented and let the woman leave but then slammed the door on the officer’s foot.

Bartlett originally was charged with assault on an officer and endangering the welfare of a child. Those charges were later dropped or reduced.

When Sprague informed Bartlett that he was under arrest, the man tightened his grip on the baby, causing the officer to voice his concern that the baby was screaming and crying as if he was in pain and scared.

Because Bartlett wouldn’t give up the baby and seemed to be hurting him, Sprague kneed Bartlett in the stomach while Bartlett’s father grabbed the baby boy, according to the police report.

Bartlett continued to fight and Sprague pepper-sprayed him. When that didn’t work, Sprague used a stun gun on Bartlett four times — until the wires broke. Sprague then reloaded a new cartridge and stunned Bartlett again. When Bartlett continued to resist, Sprague again sprayed him in the eyes with pepper spray. Then Sprague used his stun gun directly on Bartlett’s skin.

Bartlett’s father helped the police officer subdue Bartlett until more police arrived and arrested the man. Bartlett was brought for treatment to Pen Bay Medical Center, where he confessed he was high on bath salts.

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