A man was arrested and charged with destruction of evidence Tuesday after reportedly attempting to swallow suspected crack cocaine.
Covington Police Officer Shane Brown was on patrol on Bohannon Street when he observed a black male start to enter a white van. The man stopped, exited the vehicle, walked to the passenger side, opened the door and began yelling at an unknown person to get out of the van.
Before Brown reached the van, the passenger, also a black male, exited the vehicle and started walking away. Brown spoke with the owner of the van, who stated the other man had jumped into his vehicle when he saw the patrol car coming down the street. The owner said he did not know the man.
Brown noted in the police report he had arrested several people in the area for possession of cocaine. This knowledge, coupled with the suspicious actions, lead Brown to follow the man.
As Brown began to trail the suspect, it began to rain heavily, but the man continued to walk toward Don's Superette. Brown parked his patrol unit in the store's parking lot, but the man changed directions, walking away from the establishment.
Contact was made with the man, who Brown was able to identify as Demetrius Manuel. Brown was familiar with Manuel and knew he had previously been arrested for possession of cocaine.
Brown asked Manuel where he was going and the suspect stated he was going to the store. When Brown pointed out he was walking away from the store, Manuel reportedly paused for several seconds before patting his pockets and saying he had forgotten his money and was going to get it.
Brown notes in the police report Manuel adjusted his body's position to allow him a better chance to flee. As Manuel started looking from left to right around the area, Brown advised the suspect not to run. Manuel reportedly then took a more relaxed position and began to speak with the officer again.
Manuel said he wanted to buy some cigarettes and pointed down the street. Moments later, he stated he wanted to buy some candles. During their exchange, Manuel reportedly attempted to place his right hand into his pocket several times and was advised to keep his hands in view.
Based on his observations, Brown searched Manuel. During the search, Manuel repeatedly stated, "It's just wax."
While searching Manuel, Brown noticed the subject moving his tongue around in his mouth in an apparent effort to secure something in his cheek. Brown told Manuel to open his mouth, but Manuel began to chew and swallow.
Brown reportedly grabbed Manuel around the throat to prevent him swallowing. Manuel was told to spit out the contents of his mouth, but instead he reportedly continued to swallow.
Having swallowed several times, Manuel opened his mouth and said he did not have anything. When he opened his mouth, Manuel reportedly leaned his head back so that officers could not see inside.
Brown ordered Manuel to stick out his tongue and when he did so, both Brown and Officer Brent Fuesting observed several pieces of suspected crack cocaine.
"It's on his tongue," Fuesting said.
Manuel then retracted his tongue and began swallowing again before reportedly pretending to spit and state he did not have anything.
Brown placed Manuel into custody for destruction of evidence. Manuel reportedly screamed it was just crackers in his mouth.
Brown noted in the police report Manuel did have crackers in his pocket, but the contents in his mouth did not match the crackers. Brown also pointed out the contents in Manuel's mouth were not dissolving, and crack cocaine is not water soluble.
Manuel was transported to the Newton County Detention Center.