Shortly after 1:30pm Tuesday afternoon, Columbus Police raced to the 1100 block of 1st St. north after a Lt. had been assaulted by a local restauranteur. Lt. Carroll Culpepper had radioed for backup after he said he was attacked by Rodney Taylor, owner of PJ’s BBQ on Hwy 45 N.
Culpepper, a 30 yr veteran of the department, was called to Taylor’s property on 1st St by city Code enforcement Officer Victor Summerville. Taylor had reportedly become agitated after he discovered the city was removing a Winnebago trailer from the land. City records indicated that Taylor had been notified that some of the vehicles on his property were in violation of city code, and that the Winnebago would be impounded if the situation was not remedied immediately.
Atlas towing was called to remove the large trailer, and was beginning to remove it from the lot when Taylor blocked their exit with his pick-up truck. Summerville called for an officer to assist, but by the time Lt. Culpepper arrived minutes later, Taylor had left the scene.
Taylor then reportedly returned to the lot moments later, aggressively approaching Culpepper while cursing and pointing his finger. Lt. Culpepper ordered Taylor to stop, but Taylor continued, and he was told he was going to be arrested. As Culpepper went to subdue the enraged Taylor, he was struck in the chest and knocked to the ground. Taylor then jumped into his truck for a moment before choosing instead to run for it onto his adjoining property.
Columbus-Lowndes Metro-Narcotics units swarmed the area alongside several Columbus Police officers and began to search for the fugitive. Officers surrounded neighboring streets in an attempt to cut off any escape routes. After about 15 minutes of searching the property, Taylor surrendered without incident.
Taylor was taken into custody for Simple Assault of a Police Officer and Resisting Arrest.
[While officers were searching for Taylor, Joyce Talbert (Taylor’s mother-in-law) walked up and started telling me that I “better put that camera down and stop taking pictures!” After I informed Talbert that I was in my legal right to take photos of the action from the roadway where I was standing, she walked onto the property and started telling Officer that I “had no right to be there” and that they “needed to tell me to leave”. She was immediately informed that she was to leave the property while the investigation was underway. Talbert stomped off to her home nearby. – JD]
A neighbor, Shirley Thrasher, stopped by the scene to talk to The Packet. Thrasher has logged several complaints with the city about Taylor’s property. [The property is a haphazard mess of vehicles, scrap metal and heavy equipment, all in varying states of rust. – JD] Thrasher recently contacted the Packet office about the complaints because nothing was being done about the problem. She says Taylor is quick to yell at and curse out anyone who talks to him about cleaning up the property. Apparently, several neighbors have complaints filed against Taylor and Talbert.
[Later Tuesday evening, a face-off ensued between Thrasher and Talbert at the City Council meeting. For more on the showdown, see Ron Williams’ article on Page 26. – JD] 0