Census taker 'assaulted'

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Chapel Hill man was arrested last week when he was charged with false imprisonment and assaulting a census worker.

James T. "Tommy" Brewer, 61, of Hwy 270, was visited by census worker Travis Ryder, 20, about 5 p.m. on June 9, Marshall County Sheriff's Detective Bart Fagan reports.

Brewer became "very aggressive" with Ryder, tearing up the census form and taking the keys to Ryder's vehicle, Fagan said.

Brewer told Ryder to follow him to his shop, adding, that Ryder "better not run," according to Fagan's report.

Once in the shop, Brewer took a propane torch and melted a coke can with it, asking Ryder "if he knew what this would do to his hand," Fagan's report shows.

The two men talked for about an hour, Fagan's report states. Then Brewer let Ryder go, "after telling him no more census workers should come to his house, as they might not leave."

Police Chief Jackie King says Ryder is a Chapel Hill native and that he went straight to the chief's home to report the incident. King called the Sheriff's Department.

Detective Fagan, Deputies Chad Bass and Jimmy Oliver, and Chapel Hill Police Officer Marion Kincaid went to 3026 Hwy 270, took Brewer into custody, and transported him to the Sheriff's Office.

After Brewer was read his Miranda rights, according to Fagan's report, he agreed to talk with the detective.

"He told me almost the same story Mr. Ryder had given to me," Fagan wrote, "but he advised he did not threaten him. He was just trying to scare him because there had already been four other census workers there and he was tired of it."

Brewer was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment. He made a bond of $8,500, and is due in General Sessions Court on Aug. 17.