Burlington, VT- In what Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad says is “proof that certain things are not working,” a St. Johnsbury man was arrested three times in two days and, in separate incidents, allegedly assaulted a hospital worker and an off-duty police officer.
Brandon Clough, 42, is facing charges of simple assault and assault of a protected professional. As of Wednesday, Nov. 8, Clough was brought to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Clough was first arrested around 10 p.m. Sunday after he allegedly broke into a King Street apartment. The apartment’s resident told police they came home to find the door’s chain lock had been set from within the apartment, and a stranger was inside refusing to unlock the door.
The alleged intruder, who police would later identify as Clough, then told the resident he was going to take a shower.
Police made their way into the apartment and arrested Clough, who was naked at the time. Clough reportedly told police that he had gotten in through a window near the apartment’s fire escape.
Clough was charged with felony trespass and was brought to UVMMC. Police said that when Clough was cleared to leave the hospital, around 7:15 p.m. Monday, he allegedly punched a clinician without warning.
Clough was arrested again, but was released on court-ordered conditions.
While officers retrieved his belongings, police say Clough was escorted outside the station at One North Avenue, where he allegedly tried to assault an off-duty officer walking to his car.
The off-duty officer was able to detain Clough, and he was arrested for a third time.
Video released by Burlington Police show Clough’s arrest Monday night, which happened around 9:12 p.m. according to the security video’s timestamp.
In a press release detailing the incidents, Chief Jon Murad said they were “proof that certain things are not working.”
Murad drew attention to a recent article from the New York Times that recounted UVMMC staff’s stories of violent encounters with patients.
“[H]ere we have a man who broke into someone’s home, who assaulted hospital staff, who clearly cannot make good decisions and is a danger to himself and the community,” Murad said. “And yet he was released on conditions and within minutes assaulted a police officer. Jail may not be the right place for someone who harms others but whose behavior may be driven, in part, by mental-health issues. But until we create more capacity for desperately needed custodial care, it’s the place we have. Our neighbors—people in their homes, hospital workers, police officers—they all deserve to be safe.”
The New York Times article written by Helen Ouyang, an ER physician at Columbia University, shares staff experiences of patients punching hospital employees in the head until knocked unconscious, being kicked, spit on, and even stabbed.
Ouyang says this has contributed to a steep decline in interest in the medical field.
“What has stayed with me most is not the near miss of a thrown computer or a slur a patient used but a medical student saying to me after he witnessed a violent episode, I learned today that I don’t want to go into emergency medicine.,” Ouyang wrote.