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Posted: 5:54 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10, 2014

Call for help on 911 leads to arrest

By Pete Combs

Marietta —

Reshonte Ross, 24, is home with his grandmother now after spending two weeks in the Cobb County Adult Detention Center. The reason? Stranded at a Marietta Wal-Mart, Ross had no ride home to Atlanta. So he did what he was taught to do. He called police and asked for help.
 
“It was cold,” Ross told WSB’s Pete Combs. “I was shaking. I just called the police to tell them that I was stuck.”
 
The problem was Ross called 911 five times in the span of about 20 minutes. The fifth time, police say he lied and told dispatchers he had a medical condition. That brought out a fire truck, ambulance, paramedics and police.
 
Ross was arrested for unlawful conduct and spent two weeks in jail.
 
“We could have been called,” said Crandall Heard of All About Developmental Disabilities, an advocacy and training organization that counted Ross among its clients. “We could have had a representative come and actually pick (Ross) up.”
 
But Marietta Police had no idea that Ross was mentally challenged, according to Office Dave Baldwin.
 
“At no time did any of the 911 operators or any of the officers or emergency personnel on the scene ever feel like Mr. Ross had any type of mental incapacity,” Baldwin said.
 
That’s a big problem when law officers encounter the mentally challenge, said Heard. He has so far trained more than 2,600 Georgia law officers to better deal with the mentally disabled in how to spot someone with intellectual deficiencies and then get them the proper help.
 
Heard said he would be happy to help train Marietta Police to avoid situations like the one that landed Ross in jail for two weeks before Heard could get him out. Baldwin said officers are more than willing to listen.

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