Late yesterday evening, about 8 p.m., four Dallas police cars descended on a the 2800 block of South Avenue, lights and sirens blazing. They'd been told there was a major disturbance on the South Dallas street, and that one of those involved was hurling legitimate-seeming death threats.
Officers arrived to find the neighborhood strangely quiet, with no signs of a fight. The only person they saw was a middle-aged man in the alley who took off sprinting when he saw the squad cars.
He didn't make it far. He came to a stop after 15 yards and turned to officers. He was clearly hysterical, they wrote in an incident report, and they cuffed him as a precaution. Then they asked if he'd called 911.
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The man, a 54-year-old named Charles Earl Brown, according to his Arkansas ID, said he hadn't. A quick browse through the phone was enough to debunk that claim, since the most recent call was made to 911. To be extra sure, officers had a dispatcher place a call to the number from which the disturbance had originally been reported. The phone rang.
Yeah, Brown admitted, he had called police but only because "I needed help getting home." He was in the squad car at this point, and it wasn't long before he was en route to Lew Sterrett.
This was clearly not what Brown had in mind. "I called y'all to get a ride home," he complained when they arrived at the lockup. "Why am I at jail?"
What Brown has probably realized by now is that, temporarily at least, Lew Sterrett is his home.