|WEB EXCLUSIVE: Caller in tasing incident speaks to The Voice
The person who placed the phone call to the Cotati Police Dept., which led to the May 10 tasing and subsequent arrest of 33-year-old James Wood, spoke with The Community Voice about the events leading up to the incident earlier this week.
The tasing has gotten a lot of responses via social media and also drew Bay Area television cameras to Cotati.
The caller, who asked not to be identified, heard Wood yelling at his wife, Jennifer Wood, in an aggressive manner and was concerned for her safety. The caller was not in close proximity to Wood's apartment but could hear every word that was said. The couple was outside when they were arguing.
"Look, this isn't the first time he could be heard yelling at her like this," the caller said. "I know a lot of people look at him that way, but he's not a victim. He's not a pleasant person, and I, along with other people, was concerned for his wife. That's why I made the call."
Cotati officers have warned the caller to maintain a low profile for the time being.
The first Cotati officer arrived on the scene and heard Jennifer Wood crying and sobbing, and requested backup. While awaiting backup, the officer said the argument escalated. It was clear to him it was a domestic situation, according to an updated Cotati Police report, and had the potential of turning into a physical confrontation.
After listening to the argument escalate, the officer knocked on the front door of the apartment. Someone inside the apartment then locked the door. The officer identified himself as a police officer. He could see a male in the apartment through a window. The officer asked the male to open the door and speak to him. The male responded "no" and walked out of view. He then identified James, Jennifer and another male identified as James Helton. The officer told them he was investigating a domestic disturbance call and again asked the subjects to open the door and to come outside the apartment to meet with him. The subjects refused.
Two more officers arrived. The officers attempted to investigate whether or not anyone in the apartment had been threatened or harmed. The officers pleaded for the occupants to open the door and to cooperate with the police in the domestic disturbance investigation. Officers also learned that a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old toddler were at the apartment. According to the officers, Jennifer appeared to be taking direction from James, supporting the officer's belief that she was a domestic violence victim.
Cotati Police Department policy dictates all domestic disturbance calls are taken seriously in order to ensure everyone's safety and in order to comply with state law.
Officers continued to warn that they would need to force the door open if the subjects refused to cooperate. The occupants refused to cooperate stating "because we don't live in a police state" and because "Martial Law had not been established in this country."
"The cops talked with him for about 15 minutes, trying to get him to come out and talk, but he refused," the caller said.
Cotati Police Chief Mike Parish said the officers could not leave the scene without checking the welfare of everyone in the apartment.
"To do so would be a neglect of duty," Parish said. "Due to the exigent circumstances, the officers were forced to kick the door open in order to enter the apartment."
James Wood, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 280 pounds, was tased as he approached the officers who directed him to stop and get on the ground. None of the other occupants in the apartment was tased. Officers subsequently determined no one was injured.
"I think nobody else bothers to call the police because people are intimidated by him," the caller said. "I don't like that he's being cast as a sympathetic figure because he's not."