CANAL WINCHESTER, Ohio (WCMH) — Two young men were facing charges after asking for someone to call 911 for their mother.
It happened when Wanda Hudson was out for dinner at Las Margaritas in Canal Winchester with her sons on March 13. She told NBC4’s Kerry Charles she had a few sips of a margarita and passed out a few minutes later. Her son panicked and ran outside.
“There was an assault, there was an assault or something here. And the girl was passed out,” said a 911 caller. “The boy running back, he ran off our patio and jumped over our back patio and ran outside.”
Fairfield County Deputy Matthew Greathouse arrived thinking an assault happened. He encountered the teen. When Hudson’s 22-year-old son Joshua saw the commotion, he got involved. Their older son Brandon was still inside the restaurant.
Body camera video, from Lithopolis Police, shows what happened next.
“I went from being almost in tears watching it, to just being angry,” said Wanda Hudson.
“It broke my heart to see my mom like that. It broke my heart to see my brother like that. So at that moment, there’s pretty much nothing you can say to me, but ‘I’m about to help,’ help my mom and help my brother” said Hudson’s son, Brandon Poellintz.
As his mother regained consciousness, Poellintz ran to his younger brothers.
“My mom is in there hurt,” he is heard saying in the body camera footage.
The 15-year-old brother eventually broke free from the deputy.
“When my brother ran my worst fear was that he was going to get shot in his back, or anything could happen,” said Poellintz. Throughout the entire 26.5 minute video, the brothers, their mother, and at least two witnesses tell responding deputies and officers multiple times what happened.
“His mom passed out.. that lady over there.. she passed out over .. they were shaking her.. that’s the whole family trying to get her to get back,” a witness said.
“I went to the bathroom and I got really dizzy in the bathroom, fell against the wall,” Hudson told an officer. “Once we got outside.. but, I was the one that blacked out but .. as I’m sitting there thinking I’m like ‘even if this was an assault, how did we get here?'”
‘Here’ included her 25-year-old son Brandon being handcuffed and placed in the back of a deputy’s cruiser. A witness recorded an exchange.
Deputy: listen, are you done? Can I get a second now?Source: Witness Video
Brother #3: I’m sitting in the car handcuffed right now
Quiency: And he ain’t even do nothing
Brother #3: And I ain’t do ****, but call you to do your * job
Deputy: Who slapped mom?
Brother #3: I slapped my mom to wake her up
Deputy: So that’s making more sense now
Brother #3: I woke her up
“As I’m standing there asking a question he pushing me back, telling me to get out the way wondering where-asking me for my ID,” said Hudson.
For 15 minutes, nobody actually checked on Hudson’s wellbeing. Someone eventually got her a chair, then a medical responder checked on her.
“We were the ones that called for help and yet, we became the aggressors, not the victims, we became the aggressors that night,” said Poellintz.
Fairfield County Sheriff Alex Lape said not so fast. He’s defending his deputy’s actions.
“He has an obligation to identify that person and find out what’s going on. I don’t know how else he would be expected to do that other than to just let him run away,” said Lape. “At that point in time, he had every bit of information he had to believe that person perpetrated an assault. So he’s trying to establish a rapport with him and he’s obviously moving away from him and starts to break into a run when he gets a hold of him.”
Shortly after, Poellintz was taken out of handcuffs.
Deputy A: We had a good conversation.
Brother #3: Listen
Deputy A: I apologize
Brother #3: It is what it is.. it ain’t got no issue with you… I do-don’t like you, though but you know
Deputy B: You don’t have to like me
Brother #3: You’re right, I don’t got to like you that’s right.. you do your job and I’ll do mine
Deputy B: You don’t know me and I don’t know you. So we’ll chalk this situation up to bad communication
“We think it’s done,” said Hudson. “In our minds, it’s over.”
Deputies kept talking as the brothers walked away, body camera still rolling.
Deputy B: That’s when I went to grab him and was fighting for control with them too
Officer: Well, I have the whole thing on here so
Deputy B: Okay
Deputy C: You still recording?
Deputy C: Can you turn it off?
Deputy ?: We’ll just go back to sub and hash it out.
Deputy C: What do we have here? Nothing?
Officer: No… ’cause
Deputy B: D-O-C… I can… I want to
D-O-C, meaning disorderly conduct.
“I thought I was going to go home without any issue coming about afterwards and that was the total opposite,” said Poellintz.
A day later, Deputy Greathouse filed complaints against the two older brothers, disorderly conduct and obstructing justice.
“And next thing I know me and my brother have a warrant. I mean, how do you explain that? Especially when we called you. How do I get a warrant, how do we get a warrant and we called you to help us?” said Poellintz.
NBC4’s Kerry Charles asked why the deputies couldn’t have used discretion and not recommended charges.
“If there’s a criminal offense then they’re obligated by their oath to go ahead and pursue that charge,” said Lape. “They did actually exercise discretion because they took nobody into custody and took them to jail.”
Wanda Hudson doesn’t buy it.
“He just drove up like ‘these are black boys out here’ and he assumed they were criminals. And that’s all he saw .. and that’s all I can see.. and I hate to say that but that’s all I can see from that,” said Hudson.
The obstruction of justice charged turned into obstruction of official business charge. All charges were dropped last week. A representative for Las Margaritas said based on what he called ‘the unusual situation,’ the younger brother running out of the restaurant, the employee called in the best information available.
On the issue of race, the sheriff said, “Anytime Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office deputies are interacting with anybody, it’s not racially motivated.”