Dave St. Pierre, photo
ST. ALBANS — A Florida man — apparently reacting to a video of a St. Albans Police Dept. (SAPD) arrest posted on a self-appointed police watchdog website — allegedly called in a bomb threat to police headquarters here Tuesday afternoon.
The call forced the evacuation of not only the SAPD building, but also the Blooming Minds Day Care Center next door, the St. Albans Fire Dept., the 911 call center and Central Dispatch, which dispatches fire and ambulance services for more than 80 communities.
At 1:47 p.m. a male caller contacted the station and made the threat, according to SAPD Chief Gary Taylor. It was the latest in a series of threats, including death threats, made against the SAPD, Taylor, and Officer Mike Malinowski.
The call originated from Davie, Fla., and police there visited the home from which the call came at 3:20 p.m. yesterday, said Taylor.
SAPD detectives are in the process of obtaining a warrant for Bruce Alvarez, 18 of Davie, Fla. St. Albans Police Detectives are obtaining an arrest warrant for Alvarez through the Franklin County State’s Attorney’s Office and plan to charge him with Creating a False Public Alarm and Disorderly Conduct by Telephone, according to Taylor.
Malinowski is the officer who arrested local attorney Peter J.R. Martin on June 12. A man named Logan Pratt, with whom SAPD spoke on Tuesday, posted the video to the site Cop Block on Oct. 16. Since then the SAPD and its officers have been repeatedly threatened, said Taylor.
Most of the callers appear to be so-called “sovereign citizens” or people who espouse their views, said Taylor, including the belief that the police themselves are illegal and a violation of the Constitution.
“Suddenly everyone who’s unhappy with the police anywhere … jumps on the bandwagon,” said Taylor.
After the bomb threat was received, dispatching services were transferred to a backup location. Police, dispatchers, and firefighters were able to return the building after 3:15 p.m., when the Vermont State Police bomb squad K-9 unit completed its search of the building.
Adam DesLauriers, owner of Blooming Minds, said police called the center as soon as the threat was received. “We decide it was obviously best to evacuate our building as well,” he said. However, the designated safe backup site for the childcare center is the police station.
Blooming Minds was able to evacuate the kids to the St. Albans Town Educational Center (SATEC), with roughly 42 preschoolers making the walk in the rain. Students who normally attend the center afterschool remained at SATEC and St. Albans City School where they were picked up by their parents.
The Martin arrest
Video of Martin’s arrest, which took place on Maquam Shore Road, was filmed by a camera on Malinowski’s cruiser and requested by the Messenger under Vermont public records law. It was then requested and also posted by other media outlets.
Malinowski pulled Martin over for having tinted windows, which are not legal in Vermont, and can be heard on the video explaining to Martin that if he has the tint removed Malinowski will void the ticket.
The two part amicably, but Martin’s car had became stuck in the mud. Malinowski offered to call a tow truck. When the tow truck arrived, Martin said he didn’t want to use their services because they would not take his insurance. Martin would have had to pay the towing service upfront and then request reimbursement from his insurance provider.
In the video, Martin attempts to prevent the car from being towed and repeatedly challenges Malinowski to arrest him, putting his hands behind his back.
When Martin attempted to grab the tow truck driver, Malinowski intervened. During the resulting scuffle Martin fell to the ground and a gun being carried by the lawyer fell out of its holster. After kicking the gun away, Malinowski arrested Martin, assisting him to his feet and taking him to receive medical attention for the cut on his head.
Martin can be heard on the video insulting Malinowski’s Polish heritage. According to police affidavits, while receiving medical treatment he also referred to Malinowski as “that little polack,” and SAPD officers as, “Nazi (expletive deleted) cops and nervous little faggots.”
The Vermont Attorney General’s office has cleared Malinowski of any excessive use of force. A letter from Assistant Attorney General Cathy Norman to Det. Sgt. Julie Scribner of the Vermont State Police states, Malinowski “employed only the reasonable force necessary to accomplish a legal purpose.”
According to Taylor, Pratt had not expected the video to receive the action it has