Usually someone sitting on a curb outside a casino means they’ve had a particularly bad time at the tables but are not ready to go home and face the music. Sometimes it means more than that, and that’s when law enforcement goes to work.
On Wednesday night, and into the early hours of Thursday, at ten minutes till three in the morning, a patrol deputy from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department was making the rounds at the Konocti Vista Casino, an Indian Casino run by members of the Pomo tribe, and is located on the south shore of upper Clear Lake in Lakeport. According to Steve Brooks, the Sheriff’s Public Information Officer, the deputy was walking towards the main entrance of the casino when he a saw man sitting there on the curb.
31-year-old Michael Julian Ferguson of Clearlake, a town across the lake on the far southern end, apparently saw the deputy coming his way, got up, and hurried away. The deputy called out for him to stop, but Ferguson kept going, putting his hands in his jacket pockets. His suspicions raised, the deputy followed, observing Ferguson as he fumbled in his pockets, concerned that he may be reaching for a weapon, or perhaps drugs he wanted to get rid of. His gait also made the deputy think he may be under the influence of something – casino drinks or perhaps stronger stuff.
Ferguson was apparently on his way to a white station wagon in the parking lot, which raised greater concern for the deputy that he may perhaps have a weapon inside, try to hide his goods, or even drive away in his altered state. He told the man he would not allow him to get in, but Ferguson grabbed the passenger door anyway. The door, however, was locked, simplifying matters a bit. The deputy told him to turn around and remove his hands from his pockets, which Ferguson slowly did. However, he continued to act nervous and fidgety, and the deputy could clearly see his pupils were dilated. (It was obvious even in the late night hours with little light in the parking lot.)
The deputy told Ferguson he was being detained, and attempted to handcuff him, but Ferguson told the deputy that wasn’t going to happen, pulled away and began running. He was ordered to stop several times, and the arrival of a second deputy apparently convinced him to give up. They arrested him for resisting arrest and being under the influence of a controlled substance, which Ferguson denied, blaming his condition on some pills he took that may have contained some methamphetamine. The deputies then took Ferguson to the Hill Road Correctional facility to complete his booking, but also warned him that bringing drugs or other contraband into the jail would result in additional charges. This warning apparently sparked a memory, and Ferguson handed over the 2.8 grams of meth he was carrying. Possession was added to his charges as Ferguson was booked.