A Stuart woman was arrested Thursday on two counts of feloniously assaulting a law enforcement officer and obstruction of justice.
Amanda Christine Vessell, 38, of 3952 Wayside Road, was taken into custody shortly after noon, prompted by what Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith described as “a violent confrontation with multiple sheriff’s deputies.”
The incident began when a woman entered the security area of the Patrick County Circuit Courthouse and allegedly bypassed the metal detector. The woman allegedly told sheriff’s deputy Andy Petty that she was going to see the judge, Smith said.
Petty explained that court was not in session, and that there was no admittance to the courtroom. The woman allegedly continued the effort to gain entry, and Petty physically tried to prevent her from going up the stairs that lead to the courtroom.
Smith alleged the woman “began to fight Petty, allegedly striking him multiple times,” before Petty took her “to the floor and kept her pinned down until other deputies arrived minutes later to assist.”
The woman allegedly elbowed and struck Petty repeatedly while on the floor, “and she had to be tased when assisting deputies responded,” Smith said. “The struggle was so intense that Deputy Petty could not take his hands off” the woman to use his radio.
“I am grateful that the employees at the clerk’s office were able to call for help,” he added.
The incident spilled onto Main Street, as several other law enforcement officers physically carried the barefoot woman from near the entrance of the court to a marked car on Orchard Street, which is situated between the courthouse and Wanda’s Estate Jewelry, according to a reporter near the scene.
Smith said once the woman was outside, deputies were trying to handcuff and place her in a patrol vehicle.
After placing the woman down long enough to try and put her into the vehicle, the woman appeared to lie down on the pavement. Law enforcement officers were unable to get her back onto her feet immediately.
Their attempts were met with statements such as “I can’t breathe … police brutality,” and “I am a victim of police brutality,” interspersed with incoherent screams, according to a reporter near the scene.
Patrick County Sheriff’s Capt. Rob Coleman was allegedly assaulted during the process, Smith said, adding the woman allegedly “grabbed Rob Coleman in the groin.”
The “behavior was not only violent, but bizarre, with one witness describing her as ‘wild.’” Smith said, and alleged the combative behavior continued at the jail.
Both Petty and Vessell received medical assistance, with each sustaining minor injuries.
Vessell is being held without bond in the Patrick County Jail.