Police: Spice-smoking man went 'berserk' on family and cops

Liz Evans Scolforo

A Lower Windsor Township man who tried the illegal drug known as spice and K2 went "berserk," attacking his wife, endangering their infant and resisting arrest.

Packets of illegal "spice." 
(Photo courtesy of the DEA)

George Potter Jr.'s defense attorney praised police officers for their measured response in dealing with the out-of-control man.

"It was the first time he ever tried it and he just completely lost his mind," attorney Jay Whittle said. "I told Mr. Potter he was lucky he didn't get shot."

Whittle said the Lower Windsor Township police officers who responded to Potter's home about 3:30 a.m. Nov. 1 showed admirable restraint in dealing with the addled Potter.

"The situation could have easily escalated, and it didn't," he said. "The police officers did a great job."

What happened: When police arrived at Potter's Pawnee Drive home, he walked into the street "with his sweatpants pulled down to his ankles, exposing his underwear," Officer Shaun Dickmyer wrote in charging documents.

"He was soaked in urine, bloody, yelling and screaming up towards the sky," Dickmyer wrote. "George then sat down in the middle of the street ... threatening and yelling obscenities towards me ... and it was causing a large disturbance."

Potter was babbling about killing people, police said, adding they were unable to reason with him. At that point, Potter walked toward Dickmyer in a threatening manner and was shocked with a Taser, documents state.

"The Taser had very little effect on him," Dickmyer wrote.

Dickmyer and another officer took Potter to the ground and struggled with him for 10 minutes before they could slap handcuffs on him, according to charging documents. It then took three officers to restrain him until an ambulance arrived.

When they tried to put Potter on a gurney, he bit the bed, then struggled in the ambulance on the way to York Hospital, where he was involuntarily committed to the mental-health unit, documents state. He was later charged with a number of offenses, including felony aggravated assault.

Wife bitten: Officer at the scene learned Potter had attacked his wife, grabbing her by the hair, throwing her around and biting her scalp, documents state.

When he first attacked her, she was holding their 6-month-old son in her arms and she was forced to quickly put the baby on the couch so he wouldn't be injured, according to Whittle.

Potter also pushed his 15-year-old daughter to the floor and threatened to kill his family, police said. That's when his wife took their kids, fled to a neighboring home and called 911.

Potter, 40, pleaded guilty Tuesday in York County Court to simple assault, making terroristic threats, child endangerment and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and complete a batterer's intervention program, according to court records.

Not violent: Whittle said the outburst was entirely out of character for Potter, who hadn't been in trouble with the law before and who can't remember much of what he did that night.

"He doesn't have a violent bone in his body," Whittle said.

Potter's wife spoke at his sentencing, saying they've been married about 13 years and that he had never been violent before, according to the attorney, who said Potter indicated he won't be trying spice again.

"He's one and done," Whittle said, adding there's a lesson to be learned: "Don't smoke spice."

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.