Police: Man Caught on Train Tracks Threatened Officers

Hawthorne man tried to smash the plexiglass of the holding cell with his head, Morristown Police said.

A 24-year-old Hawthorne man threatened and yelled at officers after he was found trespassing on the NJ Transit train tracks, Morristown Police said. 

According to a report by Officer Eric Petr, David Phelan was found exiting the woods on Jan. 4 by the Morris Street parking lot "covered in snow" after officers had halted train service on the Morris line and gave chase. 

Petr said Phelan had a strong odor of alcohol on him and began cursing and exhibiting "erratic and escalating" violent behavior.  

According to Petr, Phelan repeatedly told him he was a U.S. Marine and he had killed Taliban and began yelling profanities.

The report said Phelan's father arrived to take custody of his son but Phelan continued to scream profanities at the officers and attempted to pull away from police control. He was arrested and brought to Morristown Police Headquarters for processing. 

Phelan refused to follow instructions or commands and had to repeatedly be told to sit on the bench in the processing room, the report said. 

"I then tried to remove the handcuffs from Phelan's wrists and he struggled against me continually. He struggled against me while I was trying to search him and remove his personal belongings for inventory as well," Petr wrote in his report. 

Phelan attempted to remove the bench and the toilet from the wall of the holding cell after kicking and slapping the door, the report said. 

Petr said restraints were placed on Phelan after he "took some toilet paper, folded it up and placed it on his forehead" before he "rammed his head" against the cell door's plexiglass window."

Phelan was charged with disorderly conduct and defiant trespass before being released into the custody of his father. 


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