Officer loses Taser during struggle with transient
In what could easily have ended in tragedy, a Sonoma police officer grappled alone with a suspect in the early morning hours of April 28 and, while trying to pin the man to the ground felt his Taser being pulled off his duty belt.
The officer had first encountered the man talking to himself and rapidly rubbing his hands together as he walked through a parking lot north of the Vineyard Center on Highway 12 around 2:30 a.m. The officer stopped and asked the man if he was OK. The man walked past as if the officer wasn't there, still talking to himself and rubbing himself briskly.
The man then crossed the street to the nearby McDonald's parking lot, and the officer followed, suspecting the man was either under the influence of a drug or mentally unstable.
When the officer asked the man to stop, the man yelled at him, "I don't have to f------ talk to you." The man then clenched his fists, braced his arms and took a step toward the officer, pointing at him and yelling.
Ultimately the officer felt the man represented a risk to himself and possibly others and made a move to subdue him.
The officer grasped the suspect's arm, but he brushed the officer's hand away with considerable strength. At that point the officer tried to put a headlock on the suspect and took him to the ground, while calling for back up on his radio.
The two struggled on the ground, with the suspect raining punches on the officer's head and upper body, repeatedly yelling, "You want some more, you want some more?" while the officer tried to keep him pinned to the ground.
But suddenly the suspect's hand found the officer's Taser and yanked it off his belt. That, a police spokesman later said, could have been a lethal situation. Had the suspect been able to keep control of the Taser and activate it against the officer, the officer would have been effectively disarmed.
But the struggling officer was able to knock the Taser out of reach, and shortly afterwards deputies from the Sheriff's Valley substation arrived to assist.
They quickly subdued the suspect and put him in maximum restraints in the back of a squad car.
Identified as a 30-year-old transient named Craig Eisenberg, police later discovered he had an extensive arrest record for drug and alcohol violations and resisting arrest. In fact, during a 2010 incident in Santa Rosa, an almost identical confrontation occurred with Santa Rosa police. As a result, his arrest record contained a standing warning that he was known as a drug offender who threatened police.
Eisenberg was charged with felony resisting arrest, felony removing a weapon from a peace officer, being under the influence of a controlled substance and battery on a police officer. He was booked into the Sonoma County jail.