Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Ithamar SANTANA (Disorderly Conduct)

On Monday, August 19, 2019, while assigned to marked unit West-6, I, Officer Ashley Catatao, was dispatched to the Goodwill Store, located at 230 Elm Street, for the report of an unwanted party refusing to leave the store. Marked units West-5 and West-7 also responded.

Upon arrival, I met with the reporting party, the manager, XXXX. According to XXXX, the male, later identified at booking as Ithamar Santana, came into the store holding two Bud Light beer cans in each hand. XXXX is familiar with Santana as he has come into the store before and has caused issues and has harassed her and her employees on several occasions. Santana has been trespassed previously by XXXX and has come in before with beer cans and advised that he is not allowed in the store with them. XXXX asked the male to leave and he refused to. As we were en route to the scene, XXXX said Santana had left the store right before we pulled up. XXXX was able to point him out to me, standing in front of BFresh. As I turned to look, I observed a male in a red t-shirt, standing in front of BFresh, waving his arms. I advised XXXX that I would advise Santana.

As I walked over to Santana, Santana walked into the Buffalo Exchange, which is located at 238 Elm Street, two storefronts away from The Goodwill. As I entered the Buffalo Exchange, I approached Santana and asked if he could step outside and speak to me. Santana refused at first saying “I rather not.” I informed Santana that I was called to The Goodwill because he was refusing to leave when asked by management after they had previously trespassed. Santana, in a raised voice, exclaimed “She asked me to leave because of these and she never told me I was trespassed” and showed me two Bud Light cans, one in each hand. Santana then shook the cans to show that they were empty. I then explained to Santana that management of any business has the right and ability to ask anyone to leave their business for whatever reason and the manager’s reason was because of the beer cans which they do not allow open containers in their store. Santana then stated “But they’re empty! Can we go outside so I can show you?” I followed Santana out of the Buffalo Exchange and onto the sidewalk in front of it. Santana then tipped the cans over and shook them, and a black substance fell out. I asked Santana what fell out of the cans and he replied “Mulch.” I asked Santana why does he carry two empty beer cans around and he replied “Because they’re art! I make artwork from them! If I find a good looking can, I pick them up and I take them and make artwork out of them.” I then suggested to Santana that maybe next time he puts the cans in a bag or keeps them out of sight when entering businesses to avoid further headaches. Santana then asked “Would you stop me if you saw me with two empty beer cans?” And I replied “Yes I would stop you because just might looking at them, I cannot tell if they are empty or not and in the City of Somerville, open containers are an arrestable offense (Sec. 9-1. – Alcoholic beverages in public places, Code of Ordinances City of Somerville, Massachusetts).”

Santana kept going on and on about how “her feelings should not trump his rights” and that he wasn’t doing anything wrong by walking into the store with two empty beer cans. He also stated that he goes in there “every day to purchase items, including glass bottles, and that his usual routine is going into The Goodwill, then The Buffalo Exchange, and then finally next door to Dunkin’ Donuts/BFresh to buy a drink.” I again explained to Santana that management had verbally trespassed him so to avoid further problems, to remain away from the business for the remainder of the day. He agreed and went back into The Buffalo Exchange to continue his shopping.

I went back to The Goodwill to speak with XXXX and to advise her to call us if he returns. As I was speaking to her, XXXX informed me that she was concerned that as soon as we left, Santana would return and cause a problem again. She expressed concern for her safety and the safety of her employees due to his harassing and annoying behavior whenever he comes in. XXXX stated that last time the Somerville Police were here for the same issue with Santana, that Santana had refused to identify himself to officers for a formal trespass to be issued by management. XXXX then stopped talking and informed me that Santana was now across the street, in front of Dragon Pizza, and was making faces and staring at her. I turned around and observed Santana leaning on the trash receptacle in front of Dragon Pizza, staring directly at us. XXXX again expressed that she did not feel comfortable with him around and was afraid that if we left, he would return and was fearful he might become violent or argumentative with them for calling the police again. I advised XXXX that I would talk to him and ask him to leave the area.

As I walked across the street, Santana looked away from my direction and upon my approaching him. I said to him “Sir? Sir? Sir?” and each time he refused to acknowledge me. I then stated that “It would be best if you left the area because you are making them uncomfortable by standing here and staring at them.” Santana then began shouting that he wasn’t doing anything illegal and was just leaning on the trash receptacles staring up at the sky. Santana then said to me “You better not go there. You’re coming very close to crossing the line! You’re harassing me!” I then asked Santana to lower his voice as we were in a public space, with families walking by. Motorists began to slow down and stare at Santana yelling. Pedestrians were forced to walk around us as Santana was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, refusing to move out of the way. I then stated to Santana that I needed his information so that management could issue a formal trespass against him. Santana then shouted “I do not need to identify myself to you! I haven’t done anything illegal and I’m done with you!” Santana then walked into Dragon Pizza. Officers Jean-Jaques and Gee walked over and asked what had happened. As I was informing them of XXXX’s request to issue a formal trespass and that I was trying to gather Santana’s information for it, Officer Jean-Jacques looked over at Santana who was now purchasing a beverage and taking a seat at the window and staring again, across the street towards The Goodwill where XXXX and another employee were still standing by the windows.

We then walked into Dragon Pizza and informed Santana again that we needed his information to file the formal trespass and due to his erratic and concerning behavior and the concerns for safety stated by XXXX for herself and her employees, that it would be in his best interests to leave the area for the day. Santana refused again to identify himself and began screaming that we were harassing him and following him and that he wanted to speak to supervisor. Because of his screaming, a mother who was sitting at the table next to Santana, gathered her two small children, and moved them to the opposite side of the restaurant. The employees began to watch, and civilians passing by the window outside began to stop and stare. At this time, I decided to place Santana under arrest for the following charge:

Ch. 272/53/F – Disorderly Conduct

Santana was placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the restaurant to wait outside for the prisoner transport vehicle to arrive. As we stepped outside, I tried to lead Santana away from the front entrance to Dragon Pizza but he planted his feet and screamed “Why are you trying to pull me away? I’m not moving from here!” I then explained to Santana that I was trying to move us out of the way of blocking the entrance to the restaurant and to get out of the middle of the sidewalk so that people walking by wouldn’t have to walk around us. Santana again began screaming saying “This is discrimination!” I then asked Officer Gee to go across the street to The Goodwill to get the manager’s name for me. As Officer Gee was attempting to cross the street with a pedestrian, a bicyclist who was staring at Santana yelling, almost hit Officer Gee and the pedestrian crossing because he wasn’t paying attention. He had to come to a screeching halt as Officer Gee shouted at him to stop before he hit him and the pedestrian.

Marked unit 200 arrived on scene. Officer Ducasse began to search Santana and located a small box cutter in the left pocket of his shorts. The box cutter, along with the rest of Santana’s property was taken and placed in a prisoner property bag. 200 then transported Santana back to the Somerville Police Department where he was booked by the shift commander.

After booking was completed, I was able to obtain Santana’s information and relay it to XXXX so that she could file a formal trespass as per the company’s policy and she was also advised to seek a Harassment Prevention Order.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Ashley Catatao #299

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