Man climbs 80-foot pole in Arizona, holds American flag upside down
SURPRISE, Ariz. — Emergency crews rescued the unidentified man who climbed an 80-foot light pole in Surprise, Arizona on Thursday and held the American flag upside down.
Update: Police have identified the man as Michael Lewis-Arthur Meyer, a 36 year old man from Tucson, Ariz.
After being removed from the light pole, Meyer was reportedly examined on scene by responding medical personnel. During his overall health assessment, Meyer did not express or exhibit any direct signs associated with experiencing a mental health crisis.
After being medically cleared, police said Meyer was later arrested, transported and booked into the Maricopa County 4th Avenue Jail. Meyer is facing criminal charges for Criminal Trespassing in the Third Degree and Disorderly Conduct.
Surprise Police and Fire responded to the Surprise Recreation Campus near Bullard Avenue and Bell Road Thursday morning after Meyer refused to come down from the pole.
Authorities negotiated throughout the afternoon, Surprise Police Spokesman Sgt. Norman Owens said.
An Army veteran, Edwin Alex Cordero, said Meyer was advocating for him.
“He was up there because he’s trying to get me help,” he said.
Cordero said he’s trying to get his kids back after a divorce, and said the court has given almost all his veteran retirement money to his wife.
“I met him because I’ve been trying to reach out for help for the last year, when (I was) going through, when I was homeless, and trying to get help,” he said. Cordero said Meyer was taking a stand for him and other veterans.
“He was risking his life for me and I appreciate what he’s trying to do and trying to help out the veterans, because I don’t see anybody trying to help out the veterans,” he said.
“You know, every day there’s 25 that killed themselves,” Cordero said. He said if he doesn’t get help, he feared he would harm himself too.
“(Meyer) calls me four times a day to check on me, how I’m doing. He’s been following my court (case), and trying to get me into court.
“It means a lot. It means there’s someone who cares about the veterans…since I’ve been in Surprise, nobody has done anything about the veterans.”
Cordero said police called him to tell him what was happening, and to talk Meyer down from the light pole.
Owens said Bullard Avenue, running south from Bell Road, and Waddell Road were closed during the incident.
The city closed nearby recreation facilities including an aquatic center. Events scheduled for Thursday at those sites were canceled.
KTAR’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.