OLD FOURTH WARD — Social media and the fast thinking of Zone 6 officers apparently allowed police to quickly identify and arrest a man sought after an altercation with a mom at a local park.
Louis Rivera, 54, was arrested Friday and charged with simple battery in the incident that sparked outrage among many East Atlanta Patch readers and social media followers. This is at least Rivera's fourth arrest in the last few years — two of which were dog related.
Officer R. Ramirez and Investigator T. Dennis of Zone 6 have both received credit for making the arrest without incident.
Police said the incident started Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park after a woman asked Rivera to leash his dogs when she arrived there with a group of children.
The woman told police that he responded by saying that the children would have to leave the playground because he and his unleashed dogs had arrived there first.
When the woman pulled out her mobile phone to videotape the disagreement, the man approached her, and can be seen on video yelling at her, and apparently slapping the phone out of her hands.
Sgt. Gregory Lyon told Patch that tips came in from Patch readers and readers of a Virginia-Highland community site before the clip even hit the 6 p.m. local television news.
"Also, officers in the area knew the suspect as well," Lyon said. "A group effort!"
Officers knew him from prior run-ins with the law:
- Rivera was arrested on Feb. 7, 2013 for allegedly shoplifting from the Publix at 1001 Ponce de Leon Ave.
- Rivera was arrested on Sept. 10, 2012 on a warrant for simple assault for an assault that occurred on Aug. 7, 2012. This was an incident where the victim attempted to pet Rivera's dogs that were tied up outside a business. Rivera allegedly came out yelling and punched the victim in his face.
- Rivera was arrested on Aug. 25, 2011 for false info to police and violation of the leash law (both city ordinance charges). This was an incident involving one of his dogs reportedly being involved in a physical altercation with another leashed dog.
It is illegal to have dogs unleashed in any Atlanta park unless it is within a designated dog park area.