Haines Police Officer Brayton Long (Photo by Jillian Rogers).

A Fairbanks man was arrested for assaulting a police officer in Haines Tuesday. 40-year-old Derrick Morris was charged with fourth degree assault and is currently being held in the Haines rural jail facility. 

Officer Brayton Long received a report from a woman in Haines at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday that a white man in a blue post office hat was acting suspiciously at the Port Chilkoot Dock.

“We had a report of an approximately 30-year-old male that was using binoculars down by the Port Chilkoot Dock and viewing the people on the beach. All of the individuals on the beach were young girls or young females at the time.”

The woman told police she felt fear for her safety and the safety of her friends during the 45 minutes they spent on the beach that afternoon.

Officer Long made contact with the man who had been described at the dock. The man refused to answer when asked if he had been watching girls on the beach with binoculars. Officer Long says when he stepped in front of the suspect to prevent him from leaving the man tackled him to the pavement.

“Just pretty much out of nowhere he just lunged at me and jumped on top of me,” Long said. “In all honesty, there was a moment there where the only other tool that I could access on my duty belt was my weapon, and that was one of my thoughts that I might have to shoot him.”

Officer Long was on his back with the man on top of him. Long says he used pressure points to gain control of the man until backup officers arrived on the scene to assist in handcuffing.

Police transported the man, identified as Derrick Morris, to the Haines Rural Jail Facility.

The 40-year-old man from Fairbanks has a prior criminal record, including convictions for assault and criminal mischief related to domestic violence.

Officer Long said he is very grateful to the Haines resident who reported the incident.

“Based on certain other evidence and information I’m getting, I believe the Haines resident who reported this suspicious activity probably saved somebody from being sexually assaulted.”

Morris’ bail has been set at $8,000. He will be transported to Lemon Creek Correctional Facility in Juneau to await trial.