Linton officer deploys Taser on man accused of felony criminal confinement and battery

Christopher M. Wathen, 41, of Linton, was arrested last Friday evening after police got a call reporting a domestic battery. The Linton Police Department reacted quickly and Wathen was stopped and taken into custody as he was allegedly attempting to leave the scene.

Christopher Wathen

Christopher Wathen

Wathen is now facing three criminal counts including:  

  • Criminal confinement, a Level 6 felony,
  • Domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor, and
  • Resisting law enforcement – knowingly or intentionally forcibly resists, a Class A misdemeanor.

Wathen was a Republican candidate for Greene County Auditor in the May Primary, which was won by another candidate.

When Greene County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Keven McIntosh filed the criminal case against Wathen late Wednesday and charges were approved by the court, details surrounding the incident became public record.  

Officer Joseph Riley of the Linton Police Department, the lead officer in this case, detailed how the police response unfolded, and the findings from his investigation, in a probable cause affidavit. The affidavit is the source for the details on this incident that are included in this story.

The 911 call came in to LPD Dispatch around 6:15 p.m. on Friday, August 3. A woman reported she had been battered by Wathen at their home on East Vincennes Street. The caller said he had broken the keys to her car which caused their children to be locked in the car, and that he was leaving in a black Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Very quickly after that call, LPD Officer Indiana Miller had Wathen’s truck pulled over at the intersection of East Vincennes Street and 12th Street. Officer Miller then reported to LPD Dispatch that Wathen was refusing to exit the truck and refusing to obey any of his commands.

LPD Officer John Agan arrived and also told Wathen to exit the truck – he still refused. Agan got the driver’s door open and Riley wrote in the affidavit that Agan began to go hands-on with Wathen. Officers on scene requested backup.

Officer Riley arrived next and reported when he approached the truck from the front, he could see Wathen actively resisting, and that he could not see Wathen’s right hand.

Riley said he drew his Taser, ordered Wathen to exit the truck numerous times with no success, then deployed the Taser which hit Wathen in the left shoulder/breast area. Wathen was ordered to exit the truck again, he refused again, and Riley deployed his Taser a second time. Wathen then complied and officers extracted him from the truck.

Wathen was restrained and transported to the Linton Police Department by Officer Miller after Greene County Rescue arrived on the scene to check and medically clear Wathen.

Greene County Rescue also responded to the home to check on the alleged victim.

When Officer Riley arrived at the home, he talked to the woman who had placed the 911 call and said he saw visible signs of battery to her face and back.

According to Riley’s narrative recounting this interview, she said the two had gotten into a verbal argument because she thought he had been drinking and she didn’t want him to go with her to a school event. She said he followed her and was verbally abusive when she went outside to leave, but as she was leaving, she thought about how she didn’t want him to be driving after drinking so she stopped her car and went back into the house to locate his keys.

According to the affidavit, he followed her, shut the door behind them, locked the deadbolt, then hit her in the face and pushed her into the kitchen wall. She said she tried to get out of the door but he grabbed her, pulled her away from the door and hit her in the back of her head with his fist. She then ran to the front door but he grabbed onto her shirt and was pulling her back toward the kitchen. She said she was able to slip out of her shirt then ran out the front door and called police. Wathen then attempted to leave in his truck but was quickly stopped by LPD.

Riley reported the woman had multiple injuries including a welt under an eye, a cut on her hand and several marks on her back. He also noticed a broken cabinet, broken sunglasses and two broken containers in the kitchen.

Wathen was booked in to the Greene County Jail at 8:42 p.m. by Officer Miller.

His bond was set at $6,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed. He was released on Saturday, August 4, after posting $600 cash.

An initial hearing was set for this morning, Thursday, August 9. Wathen retained Defense Attorney Sam Shapiro of Bloomington to represent him and Shapiro filed his appearance with the court. The defense waived the initial hearing.

Also on Thursday, Greene Superior Judge Dena Martin issued a no-contact order which was served to Wathen.

As of early Thursday afternoon, dates of future hearings in this case had not yet been scheduled on the court’s docket.

All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.