Police say a British historian was handcuffed, thrown to the ground and jailed because he refused to obey a uniformed officer’s order to use a crosswalk and wouldn’t show identification.
The historian says he had no idea the upset young man was a police officer.
“Where I’m from, you don’t associate young gentlemen in bomber jackets with the police. But he was extremely upset I had questioned his bona fides,” said the historian, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, a professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts and expert on colonial history.
Mayor Shirley Franklin has asked for an investigation to make sure procedures were followed.
Fernandez-Armesto, 56, was arrested Jan. 4 while in Atlanta for the American Historical Association’s convention.
Officer Kevin Leonpacher said he was in uniform as he directed pedestrians to use crosswalks in front of the downtown Hilton Hotel.
‘Well now I believe that you are the police’
He said Fernandez-Armesto shrugged him off, walked away and repeatedly refused to show an ID after the officer told him to stop and warned him he could be arrested, police said.
Other officers helped him handcuff the historian. According to Leonpacher’s report, the professor said: “Well now I believe that you are the police.”
Fernandez-Armesto said he suffered a gash on his forehead and a bruise on his wrist. He spent eight hours in custody, but the charges of jaywalking and disorderly conduct were dropped after he appeared in traffic court and said any arrest record could jeopardize his immigration status in the United States, police said.