An East Athens man apparently tried to burn down Vine East Apartments Tuesday night, one day after being released from serving a four-day sentence at the county jail from a previous arrest, Athens-Clarke County police said.
Lee Bolling Brawley, 32, was initially arrested early the morning of May 14 by police who went to the complex to investigate a report of a possible stabbing. Upon arrival, police said they found Brawley sporting fresh injuries from being in a fight and that he was yelling and cursing at other residents as well as the officers who were trying to find out what happened.
As an officer attempted to follow a blood trail leading from the injured man, Brawley followed and behaved aggressively toward the officer and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to police.
When Brawley persisted in harassing the officer, police said he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
His case went to Athens-Clarke County State Court, where he was sentenced to four days in jail and was released upon completing that sentence Monday afternoon, according to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.
Then early the next evening, just prior to 7 p.m., police and firefighters responded to Vine East Apartments on reports of a man “trying to light the complex on fire,” according to a police report. The emergency responders arrived to find a crowd of people pointing at Brawley who was standing on the top of an upper balcony, with “smoke coming from his feet,” the report noted. Police also said there were smoldering papers near the man that other tenants had doused with water.
As an officer tried speaking with Brawley to find out what was going on, the man went into his apartment with the officer following out of concern the man might light more fires, police said. Brawley was then detained in handcuffs to prevent him from hurting himself or anyone else, police said.
The officer noted in his report that Brawley had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and that as he led the suspect to a patrol car he was being pushed by Brawley who became even more loud and aggressive as they walked.
A second officer had to help get the resisting suspect into the police car, but Brawley was removed from the car and placed on the ground to keep him from injuring himself after he began head-butting a car window, according to police.
He then began acting as if he was having a seizure and stopped breathing, prompting police to call on a National EMS ambulance crew to respond as quickly as possible because Brawley “continued to act as if he were dying,” the police report noted.
A spit mask was placed on Brawley’s face for the ride to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, and as he tried removing the mask in the emergency room he began biting the officer who was trying to keep the mask on the suspect. The officer was noted in his report that Brawley was “biting down on my thumb, causing severe pain.”
After being evaluated and treated at the hospital, police returned Brawley to the jail, where he was booked shortly after1 a.m. on the new charges of first-degree arson, simple battery on a police officer, terroristic threats or acts, public intoxication and obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
He continued to be held at the jail without bail being set as of early Thursday afternoon.