Queens Man Avoids Police By Staying in Tree for Two Days

A man wanted on assault charges evaded police by climbing up a tree and staying there for more than 48 hours before being persuaded to come down last week.

Last Wednesday, October 6, police in Jamaica, Queens were called to an altercation at a private home and when they arrived, the suspect bolted to the roof, and then climbed into a tree.

The suspect, 44 year-old Roody Thomas, negotiated for his freedom with NYPD hostage negotiators for two days, New York Post reported.

Thomas ate food officers left for him by jumping to the roof, but then would retreat back to the tree. Neighbors, who watched the situation through phone cameras and binoculars, said Thomas often climbed the tree and would spend the night in the branches.

By Friday, the police were still unsuccessful, prompting members of a local violence-prevention organization to be involved. Erica Ford and Au Hogan of the community program Life Camp arrived on the scene to ease Thomas down. The first thing the two did was clear the area of most officers to ease the tension.

“We told the police, this is not working and asked if we could negotiate with him,” Ford told the Post. “There were about 100 cops out there…We have to shift how we handle some things. Bringing all of this force and units doesn’t work.”

The police complied with Ford’s request and she, Hogan, a friend of Thomas and a local nurse persuaded the man to climb down from the tree within minutes. Thomas told the crowd he did not want to go to jail, as he was afraid of being attacked behind bars.

Thomas taken to a hospital for a psychological observation, and Life Camp was arranging social services for him.

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smarcus@hamodia.com