It's Saturday evening. A large man you've never seen before suddenly appears on your deck, babbling incoherently. Then he starts pounding violently on your door with a large rock that he's holding in his hand. You are:
A) County Commissioner Jim Bensberg, wondering what the hell colleague Doug Bruce wants to chat about this time.
B) Very scared, believing the madman is going to break down the door and attack you.
C) Thinking the guy looks just like Phil "Three Times a Week" Tollefson and hoping the Utilities CEO gets tired, puts down the rock and gives you one more day to pay your $1,400 monthly water bill.
D) Wondering if eventually the Colorado Springs police might show up, assuming they can pull themselves away from filming a re-enactment of the Alamo on Colorado Avenue, with five bewildered-looking buffalo playing the roles of Mexican soldiers.
The correct answers are B (very scared) and D (hoping the police show up), although personally, I believe A (another amiable meeting between commissioners Bensberg and Bruce) is the funny answer.
Anyway, on May 14, Patricia Miller, who is 63 and disabled, was terrified by the staggering, rock-carrying man who lurched onto the deck of her apartment in a working-class neighborhood on Wood Avenue and began crashing the rock against her door and the outside wall of the apartment.
So, as her 12-year-old cocker spaniel, Lady, barked and snarled at the front door, Miller retreated into her bedroom and frantically called 911. The way Patricia tells it, she got everything except Andy Williams singing "Moon River" as she waited for the operator to do something.
"I was terrified and told the operator what was going on -- that I'm a disabled senior citizen and a big guy was trying to break down my front door," Miller said. "The operator told me the police were busy, but they'd get there when they could."
That, said Miller, took more than 15 minutes. By then, 39-year-old Robert Glagavs apparently had tired of pounding the rock against her door and was across the street, wandering away.
Left at the scene
Police say an officer was dispatched at 7:43 p.m. and arrived on the scene at 7:49. Miller insisted that more than 15 minutes elapsed between her phone call to 911 and the arrival of police.
When an officer did arrive, he found Glagavs and talked to him, according to the police report. Then the officer did something that really ticked off the frightened Miller.
"The suspect was served a citation for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor breach of the peace, and was released," said police spokesman Lt. Rafael Cintron.
Translation, from Miller: "They left the guy, who was obviously drunk and had been pounding on my door and walls with a big rock, right there on the curb. Right in front of my house! I couldn't believe it."
Two neighbors in Miller's small apartment complex, who did not want their names used in this story, also said that police left the suspect in front of the building.
Cintron attempted to explain.
"The police report says the suspect was DK, our term for drunk," said spokesman Cintron. "The report says DK a few times in reference to the suspect.
"Why was he left at the scene by officers? I don't know. Why wasn't he taken into custody and taken to the detox center? I don't know."
Later, Cintron called back and said he'd contacted the officer who had handled the call and had additional details.
"The original call just said the suspect was knocking on someone's door," Cintron said.
In the usual way: with a 10-pound rock.
"And it was a very busy night for police," Cintron said. "When the officer arrived, the suspect told him he was looking for a buddy who owed him some money, and he apparently had the wrong address."
Wrong side of the tracks
Cintron added: "The officer determined that he had been drinking, but was not intoxicated to the point that he couldn't take care of himself. He was placed under non-custodial arrest. He was arrested for all practical purposes."
Though Miller and two other apartment building residents were adamant that the man was left in front of their building, police said that did not happen.
"The officer said after arresting the suspect, he followed the man to another apartment a few blocks away, near Fillmore Street, where he apparently found the friend he was looking for," Cintron said.
The whole thing left Miller with a firm belief that not all citizens are protected equally.
"We're down here on Wood Avenue, literally on the wrong side of the tracks," she said. "And do you think for even one second that if some whacked-out guy was staggering around and pounding on doors with a big rock up around The Broadmoor, that police would write him a ticket and then leave him right there in front of those houses?"
Listen to Rich Tosches Thursday mornings on KVUU-FM, 99.9.
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