At around 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, a Missoula Police Officer was dispatched to the Poverello Center, regarding a person to be removed. The person involved was known to the staff of the Poverello as 23-year-old Deacon Stevens, and he was also known to the officer, as he has had many contacts with law enforcement in the recent past.

The details of this call said that Stevens was at the Poverello Center, and that he had been trespassed from there and the Johnson Street warming shelter. Stevens was running around without a shirt on, climbing on fences, and generally being disorderly.  He was verbally threatening people and was throwing rocks into traffic. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

“The first officer on the scene was aware of Mr. Stevens, and also had previous knowledge that he had outstanding warrants and that he had previously been confrontational with law enforcement,” Welsh said. “The officer attempted to speak with Mr. Stevens and instructed him to approach the patrol car. Mr. Steven did in fact approach the car initially, but soon began to ignore or refuse to comply with instructions.”

Court documents indicate Stevens had warrants out for his arrest, three of which were for trespassing, one for camping in the city, and one for theft. The officer ordered Stevens to place his hand behind his back, but he wouldn’t comply.

“When the officer put a hand on Mr. Stevens left arm, Mr. Stevens pulled away, took a fighting stance, and began to fight with the officer,” Welsh said. “At one point, they both went down to the ground. However, the officer was able to regain his feet and put some distance between he and Mr. Stevens. At that point, he drew his taser and tased Mr. Steven.”

The officer was able to take Stevens into custody with the assistance of a responding officer that came to back him up. Stevens was transported to the hospital, admitted to drug and alcohol use, was cleared by medical, and transported to the jail.

Stevens was charged with felony assault on a peace officer, criminal trespass to property, and disorderly conduct.

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