A Powell man was arrested Saturday after spray painting the words “F— THE POLICE ‘respectably’” in the middle of Absaroka Street, drawing a crude image on the front of …
A Powell man was arrested Saturday after spray painting the words “F— THE POLICE ‘respectably’” in the middle of Absaroka Street, drawing a crude image on the front of his home and then becoming aggressive with responding officers.
Troy L. Mayo, 46, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor property destruction in connection with the graffiti and to misdemeanor interference with a peace officer for resisting handcuffs.
“They were both pretty immature acts,” Mayo said in Park County Circuit Court on Monday.
Following the recommendation of the prosecution, Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters credited Mayo for the parts of three days he served in jail and released him to a year of unsupervised probation, along with an order to pay $1,055 in fines and fees. Among other conditions, Mayo is prohibited from drinking alcohol or visiting bars while on probation and must undergo an alcohol/drug assessment.
“You mess this up, you’re looking at 117 days in the detention center,” Judge Waters warned Mayo, referring to the jail time he suspended.
Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Saige Smith said the issues went on for several hours on Saturday and that Mayo was aggressive with law enforcement officers “when they were trying to just do their job.”
“It did result in the City of Powell having to remove cuss words that were spray painted onto the road,” Smith added, noting that Absaroka is a busy street where many people from the community could see the obscenity.
“I think given the circumstances, Mr. Mayo is very fortunate he wasn’t charged with more,” she said, “because I think he could have been.”
Mayo testified that Saturday “started out a nice day, in front of my house, just by myself.”
However, at some point, “I became agitated,” Mayo said in court, “and had again put myself in a better mood by — not a good choice — but by having a couple more beers in my front yard.”
Mayo said he offered beers to a couple people who walked by — “They were of age, and so I offered them a closed container to take home with them,” he explained to the judge — and police eventually showed up.
Mayo said he thought the officers told him he couldn’t do what he was doing and he became upset.
Powell police tell the story differently. In an affidavit used to support the charges, Officer Matt Koritnik wrote that Mayo yelled at an officer who drove by the residence around 12:30 p.m. and flipped him off. Then shortly after 1 p.m., police received a report that Mayo was yelling at passing vehicles, stepping out into traffic and appeared to be intoxicated.
Officers “spoke to Mayo and asked him to stay out of the roadway and not yell at passing cars,” Koritnik wrote; police logs say he was also “advised to go back inside his residence.”
However, shortly after 2 p.m., a citizen reported that Mayo had painted the profane message toward police in the street, along with a drawing of a hand with its middle finger extended.
Mayo said he “had written something that was very immature and I kind of wish I hadn’t, but it did happen.”
When Officer Koritnik arrived at the scene, he saw Mayo had not only spray painted the words and drawing in the street, but had painted a hand with its middle finger extended on the front of his residence. Mayo said he didn’t know that it was illegal to write in the street and said “he had free speech and could say what he wanted,” Officer Koritnik recounted.
Mayo became “very agitated,” tried to provoke the officers at the scene and continued yelling profanity at the police and passersby, the affidavit says. After Mayo aggressively approached a couple of the officers, they placed him under arrest, taking him to the ground when he resisted.
“At the time I had figured that that was just quite a bit of force to tell me not to do such a thing and I didn’t want to be handcuffed,” Mayo explained in court.
He also thanked prosecutors for not recommending jail time. Given that he works as a service technician in the HVAC industry, keeping him in jail “would hinder a lot of people’s comfortability,” Mayo said, “and I would not want to be in the way of that.”
The graffiti on the North Absaroka Street home was painted over on Tuesday.