A dramatic, hours-long standoff with a fugitive perched on a rooftop ended without violence or injuries, thanks to the negotiating skills deployed by Easton, PA law enforcement personnel.
The incident took place on April 18, 2022, beginning just after midnight, when Easton Police Department officers responded to a report concerning the violation of a Protection From Abuse order by a man named Joseph George. When they arrived at the 300 block of West St. Joseph Street in Easton, they saw George sitting on a side porch—but upon noticing the officers, George made his way off the porch and onto a neighbor's roof before jumping to the roof of his own home.
There he stayed for approximately nine hours until the EPD's special response personnel and negotiators succeeded in convincing George to come down from the three-story home's roof. George had spent the time alternately sitting and standing on the chimney, then sitting with negotiators on a dormer. The Easton EMS, Easton Emergency Squad, and Easton Fire Department had all responded, with the latter extending a fire truck's ladder and bucket to safely convey the 29-year-old to the ground.
When George, who had a burglary warrant out of Warren County, saw the officer, he jumped over the railing, ran off, and climbed onto the roof of the house next door before jumping back to the roof of his home, court papers say.
According to court papers, “George stated that he would not come down from the roof because he knew he was going back to jail due to his [burglary] warrant and admitted he absconded from drug court.”
There were reports that George had indicated a desire to be shot by police, but the EPD's Lt. Matthew Gerould denied this, saying only that George had made some threats. Gerould also declined to “speak on specific tactics used” in the negotiation efforts.
Legal Charges Don't Just Go Away
In addition to being arraigned as a fugitive, George is facing additional charges of flight to avoid apprehension and disorderly conduct.
The details of who filed the Protection from Abuse order against George, or why, aren't known. What is certain, however, is that the entire rooftop standoff could have been avoided. Hiring an experienced attorney to defend or appeal the charges relating to the PFA would most likely have changed the course of this situation—and prevented the incident altogether.
While being served with a protective order isn't something that people should take lightly, there are methods to mitigate the legal effects of these orders—and attorneys who can make those methods happen.
Luckily, no one was hurt in the Easton standoff—although plenty of resources were required to bring the situation to a safe and relatively satisfactory conclusion. That expenditure could have been avoided, but the Easton police and other agencies are relieved that no lives were lost and no injuries were incurred.
If you are facing a Protection From Abuse order, get in touch with the team at the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his associates are experts when it comes to defending people with PFAs and can help your situation come to a safe and satisfactory resolution as well. Call 888-535-3686 or click here to send us a message.