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Downtown Rampage

A series of events in downtown Columbus end with a man in jail and a car receiving thousands of dollars in damage.         Around 8:30 pm Saturday night, Columbus Police Officer Thomas Culpepper responded to Huck’s Place in response to a E-911 call about a fight.  On scene, the people in the restaurant said a bald black man, whom they referred to as “Preacherman”, had been in the bar, causing trouble with several patrons.  “Peacherman” had left shortly before Culpepper made it to Huck’s Place.  Officer Culpepper canvased the area, eventually finding “Preacherman”, real name Leonard Cureton, at the Princess Theater.  Cureton was given a verbal warning that he needed to calm down and go home for the night.  He was told that if officers were called out again in regards to him making trouble, he would be taken into custody and would spend some time in the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center.       Little more than an hour later, officers were called to The Gilmer Inn.  The caller said, “Leonard Cureton just busted out a window.”

Officer Paul Garrett responded to the Gilmer, chasing Cureton in the side stairwell before Officers Tommy Watkins and William Thrasher arrived as back up.  When he was handcuffed, officers searched Cureton, finding a knife in his pocket.  [Unfortunately for Officer Watkins, when he reached into the pocket, he didn’t realize that Cureton had emptied his bladder.  As a result, Watkins pulled back his hand to find it covered in urine. – JD]  After the search, Cureton started fighting back against the officers.  In the scuffle, Officer Garrett received a slight injury to his left thumb (possibly a sprain) and Cureton was taken to the ground.  He was pulled to his feet and led to a waiting patrol car, all the while yelling and cussing at the cops.  Officer Thrasher opened the back door of the car and pushed Cureton towards the back seat.  It was at this point that Cureton starting screaming, “I’m not going to jail! I’m not going to jail! F&#$ you! F&#$ you! F&#$ you! I ain’t goin’ nowhere!”  Then his rant changed to, “I need a doctor! I ain’t goin’ to jail! I need a doctor!”  [Leonard Cureton has a history of yelling for a doctor whenever he gets arrested, possibly believing that if he goes to the hospital, he won’t have to go to jail. – JD]  He continued to fight with Thrasher, even to the point of attempting to pull on the officer’s bulletproof vest.  Cureton was finally stuffed in the back of the car, but kept trying to stick his feet out so that the door couldn’t be closed (still yelling, “I ain’t goin’ to jail!”).  His feet were pushed in and the door was closed, but an eye was kept on Cureton to make sure he didn’t kick a window out (though he still tried).         The officers did call an ambulance for Cureton, as is policy whenever a subject claims they need medical attention.  Better safe than sorry, as the saying goes.       The window that was reported busted was the windshield of a 2008 Chevrolet Impala that was parked between the Trotter Convention Center and The Elbow Room. [Well known to our readers as the site of a recent double shooting. – JD]  Reportedly, Cureton had been kicked out of the Trotter, and in his rage picked up a loose cinder block and repeatedly threw it into the car.  The block was bashed against both passenger side windows and the front passenger door before finally being thrown into the right side of the windshield. [I was amazed that the two side windows stood up to the onslaught without breaking, though they did show signs of abuse. – JD]  After smashing the windshield, the block was swung into the hood of the car, leaving massive dents and several deep scratches.  [The initial guesses by officers on scene put the repairs in the range of  $3,000. -JD]         Nicholas Welch, a cook at Zachary’s, was taking out the bar’s trash when he saw Cureton destroying the car.  Welch yelled at Cureton and chased him around to the Gilmer Inn just as Officer Garrett was arriving on scene.  Welch later told The Packet, “I thought it was my buddy’s car, so I just started chasing him.”     The black Impala belongs to Tony and Hilda Eddins of Columbus, though their son was driving it on the night of the incident.  The Eddins’ were contacted by phone by Officer Watkins and told of the condition of their car.  They in turn called their son, who came to the car to file a report with the CPD.        After being checked out by EMTs, Leonard Cureton was taken to BMH-GT for further examination.  Officers Thrasher and Garrett followed the ambulance to the hospital and Thrasher posted himself outside Cureton’s examination room while Garrett had his injuries checked out.  Over the course of his hospital stay, Cureton attempted more than once to leave the room (and possibly the hospital).  [At this point, Cureton was wearing hospital scrubs and carrying his urine-soaked possessions in a plastic bag. – JD]         Around 1:00 am, Cureton was cleared to be taken to the LCADC (needing no medical treatment) and Officer Culpepper showed up to transport him.  At this point, Cureton started yelling again that he needed a doctor, though he had received ample attention while there.  He refused to sign the hospital discharge forms, saying they couldn’t let him go until he saw a doctor.  The forms were signed by Officer Culpepper, noting that Cureton had refused to sign.  Cureton fought against Culpepper and Hospital Security Officer Donald while still on the bed.  He tried to fight once handcuffed, but as he was wearing no shoes, he could get no leverage against the officers, making this a very short scuffle.       Because Cureton was so combative, Officer Lovrent Gaines came to the hospital with a set of leg shackles.  The plan was to use these to keep Cureton from hurting himself or damaging the patrol car.  Officer Don Richardson also reported to the hospital to assist with Cureton.        Once outside, Cureton focused his anger on Security Officer Donald, yelling at and berating him with such things as, “F&$# you, you cracker muh-f&%#er!  Imma kill you, b*&%#!  Imma kill you!”  [ Because Cureton was so hostile, (fighting against the officers the entire time) Officer Richardson decided to ride in the backseat with him, instead of employing the shackles.  [If you’ve ever met Don Richardson, you know that he is an imposing character, and even someone as strung out as Cureton would be hard-pressed to start any trouble while locked in the backseat of a patrol car with him. -JD]   Leonard Cureton was taken to the LCADC and charged with Felony Malicious Mischief, Public Drunkeness and Resisting Arrest.  [Cureton has a long history with the police, with charges ranging from Shoplifting to Sale of Cocaine to Simple Assault and even Stalking, but his favorite offense has to be Public Drunkeness, racking up the charge a total of 40 times in the last 5 years. – JD]       Leonard Cureton’s residence is listed as 325 Main Street, at The Gilmer Inn.  The Gilmer Inn currently has No Trespassing papers filed against Cureton, but they allow him to live there, so long as he “doesn’t cause any trouble”.



  1. jtbaker1962

    You should have taken a post-urination photo of him. A little public humiliation never hurt a drunk!

  2. Spectator

    Y do u idiots post such ignorance? How abt I stoop 2 ur level momentarily Mr. Tommy….once some1 is done shooting “the piece of trach”, maybe they should turn the gun on YO MAMMY!! This man is obviously SICK!! He needs psyciactric help instead of being shot u dummy!!!!

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