Police Say Weekend ‘Calm, For The Most Part'

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Police were busy keeping the peace last weekend as the town was inundated with rodeo fans and late-night revelers.

According to Payson Police Lt. Don Engler, there were fewer arrests this year than during previous rodeos.

"All in all, we were pleased with it," Engler said. "Things were calm, for the most part."

One of the three arrests on Main Street Saturday night, was of 22-year-old Ashley McClellan of Florida. McClellan, Engler said, was refused entrance to the party by security staff because of a suspect I.D. card.

"He went to the west gate of the rodeo dance and wasn't allowed in by security due to a concern about the authenticity of his I.D.," Engler said. "So he went around to the east gate and tried to get in on that side. Once again, security questioned his I.D. He became antagonistic with them and grabbed his I.D. out of the hand of the security officer and pushed his way through the gate."

Engler said a volunteer from Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, who was working the event, tried to stop him and McClellan swung at him, but did not hit him.

"He proceeded to push his way through the crowd, which is what drew Sgt. (Tom) Tieman and Det. (Steve) Johnson's attention," Engler said. "When they tried to place him under arrest, he began resisting their efforts."

As officers wrestled the suspect to the ground, he continued to thrash. McClellan had a heavy cast on his lower arm, which Engler said could be construed as a weapon.

"Because of his cast, it was difficult to handcuff him and other officers were called in to assist," Engler said.

It took five officers to subdue the flailing, kicking McClellan. After being hobbled with cuffs around his ankles and carried outside of the gate, the officers had to restrain him.

According to Sgt. Rod Mamero, McClellan, while on the ground being cuffed, said, ‘Somebody needs to call the Rodeo Committee and get this whole thing straightened out.'"

"He claimed to be a bull rider, but we were never able to confirm that," Engler said. "Seems like everyone we arrest on rodeo weekend claims to be a bull rider."

McClellan was charged with one count of disorderly conduct and was released Sunday morning on his own recognizance.

The other two arrests were of a minor who attempted to go over the fence into the party and was charged with trespass and underage consumption, and a man charged with disorderly conduct/domestic violence after a confrontation with the brother of his estranged wife.

Police also patrolled local motels where party goers gathered after bars closed.

Early Saturday morning, police were called to disperse a crowd of more than 100 in the courtyard of the Majestic Mountain Inn.

Although there were fewer arrests overall this rodeo, Engler said there were more DUI arrests on Friday than normal.

"We had five DUI arrests on Friday, which is more than in the past," Engler said. "We had three on Saturday which is the average."

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