Mikael Arrak

Man accused of threatening Nelson cop released

A mentally ill Nelson man charged with threatening a police officer last week has been released on $1 bail.

A mentally ill Nelson man accused of threatening a police officer last week has been released on $1 bail.

Mikael Arrak, 27, was ordered Monday to stay away from the bus stop at the corner of Ward and Baker streets and Cottonwood Falls park.

He’s been diagnosed with depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder and has been in psychiatric facilities many times. Arrak has also had many run-ins with the law, both in Nelson and the Lower Mainland, where he recently returned from.

“It’s gotten to the point that he’s the subject of police investigations or complaints about 180 times in the record management system,” said Nelson deputy police chief Henry Paivarinta. “His condition is deteriorating. He’s up and down. We’re concerned about general public safety.”

Arrak faces seven charges following the latest incident, including uttering death threats and breaching his probation. He’s due to return to court in Nelson on December 4 and the following day in Vancouver on another probation breach.

Police say an officer was speaking to someone in the 500 block of Ward Street last week when Arrak allegedly threatened him. He was already under an order not to approach the officer.

Arrak spit at the arresting officers and uttered further threats, police alleged. He’s also accused of threatening sheriff’s deputies in court the next day.

Paivarinta said he doesn’t think Arrak has been charged with any acts of violence, but added he can be “difficult” and has threatened others besides police.

He said people often make nasty comments when they’re being arrested, but in this case, Arrak made unprovoked gestures at officers who weren’t involved with him.

“Threats of bodily harm and death, when it comes from someone who’s not stable, are definitely concerning,” he said.

In January 2011, Arrak made national headlines after a judge ordered him to leave town on a bus until his probation for criminally harassing an ex-girlfriend ended.

However, that order was subsequently revoked. He was then serving three years of probation and was sentenced in November to another two years.

Paivarinta declined to comment on the judge’s decision to release Arrak on bail — “We’re not in a position to question the judiciary” — but believed his recent actions pose a risk to himself and others, noting Arrak jumped from the orange bridge.

“It’s not an exercise in finger-pointing on who’s dropping the ball, but reflects the situation we have to face,” he said. “It’s difficult when there’s a lack of resources and facilities to look after people with [mental illness].”

Paivarinta said it often falls to police to handle conflicts involving the mentally ill. “That’s not where it should be, but it’s the last line of defence.”

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