A Massachusetts courtroom was cleared Thursday after a man accused of assaulting an Arlington police officer fell onto the floor when the judge said he was going to jail.
Michael Perry, 26, who police say lives in an encampment in the Mugar Woods in Arlington, was in court facing charges of assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and disturbing the peace.
Investigators said he charged at an officer around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday with a large rifle, later determined to be a pellet gun.
Police said they confiscated three pellet guns from him, each looking like a real gun.
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Capt. Richard Flynn of the Arlington Police Department described it as “a scary moment.”
“Thankfully ... with the training we do, Officer [Joseph] Canniff was able to deescalate that," said Flynn.
Canniff is assigned to the Homeless Outreach Task Force.
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Perry’s defense attorney said in court that he has drug issues and, while defending his client, he said Perry wasn’t “charging at the officer. Rather he was leaving the scene.”
Police said the officer was in the woods to do weekly homeless outreach with a social worker from the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
Police also said the officer, faced with a split-second decision, backed away, drew his service gun and ordered Perry to drop his gun. They said the officer remained calm and fell back on his training to deescalate the situation.
The Cambridge District Clerk’s office said Perry did not need medical treatment after falling on to the floor.
He will be in jail for 90 days, with his next court appearance coming June 25.