People help police officer after she was struck by man

The Seymour Police Department has thanked the adults and juveniles who assisted an officer after she was struck in the face while trying to detain an intoxicated man.

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, Officer Crystal Schapson responded to Shields Park after a call came in about an intoxicated man being disorderly.

The man, later identified as Dale Wayne Tabor, 65, of Seymour, reportedly made an inappropriate comment to an underage girl at the park. The girl’s older sister then punched Tabor, causing him to start bleeding from his eye, said Dustin Collman, who was nearby at the skate park.

Collman said he then saw an 11-year-old boy ramming his bike into the picnic table in the shelter house where Tabor was sitting.

“At this point, I was concerned for the safety of both the man and the child harassing the man, so I ran over from the skate park to the shelter house, got the kids out of the way and I sat with him,” Collman said.

Tabor told Collman that he lived at the park, and Collman said he warned Tabor to leave the park or he was going to call the police. Tabor told Collman he refused to leave because kids had stolen his backpack, so Collman and his girlfriend got the backpack, gave it to him and demanded he leave.

“The man refused, and at this point, the man was completely out of control, he was yelling profanity and making threats to the 11-year-old boy all while a kids baseball game was going on just a few hundred feet away from the incident,” Collman said.

While someone called police, Collman said he and his girlfriend tried to keep Tabor calm and ensure people stayed away from him.

When Schapson arrived, Collman told her what happened, and Tabor admitted to making the inappropriate comment. Tabor, though, said he didn’t think it was justified to get punched for what he said.

He then asked Schapson to take him to jail because “it would be a place to stay.”

After she asked him to quit yelling and to stand up so she could apply handcuffs, Tabor said, “I ain’t going to give you no trouble” and Schapson said she was going to warn him for disorderly conduct.

With his left hand cuffed, he turned around and said, “I want battery on a police officer” before swinging his arm toward Schapson’s face.

Collman immediately jumped up from the picnic table and tackled Tabor to the ground so Schapson could arrest him. The person recording the incident on their phone also helped by placing one hand on Tabor’s neck to keep him on the ground.

“Everything happened so fast, I knew I had to act or the situation could have gotten extremely dangerous,” Collman said. “You never know what a person can be capable of.”

Tabor was taken to the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown and booked in without bond. He faces a Level 5 felony charge of battery on a public safety official and misdemeanor charges of resisting law enforcement, disorderly conduct, public intoxication and blood alcohol content 0.15% or greater.

Schapson wound up with a minor bruise on her chin.

Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott said Tabor has a lengthy criminal history, including spitting on Abbott one summer in the early 1990s.

“We’ve been dealing with him for a long time,” Abbott said.

He said he’s grateful for how Schapson and the other people reacted to the situation.

Abbott said police officers look for signs of when people are going to become aggressive.

“One of the things that happens in police work is everybody has a trait, and it’s called fight or flight,” he said. “Usually with a police officer, you will see that’s what we look for are the ones that are willing to engage. Obviously, she saw it coming and turned and went right back at it. She had a job to do, and she did her job.”

Abbott said he has spoken to a couple of the witnesses and thanked them for assisting Schapson.

“I was very shocked that they jumped in as fast as they did, but I’m super happy that they did,” he said. “Throughout my career here with the Seymour Police Department, the department as a whole has had a lot of community support over the years, and we’re very grateful for that.”

Collman said he was glad he was there to help.

“I felt like anyone in the same situation would have done the same thing,” he said. “Helping is definitely a good feeling, though I was glad that I got the opportunity to help control the situation and help someone in need.”

The 19-year-old is in his first year at Ivy Tech Community College and said he now is considering changing his major from nursing to criminal justice.

“I admire the risks and efforts that police officers make every day to keep the city of Seymour a safe, clean community,” Collman said.