Florida man pushes pastor, knocks churchgoers to ground because service was too loud, police say

Report: Man yelled ‘rape,’ ‘I can’t breathe’ as officers tried to take him into custody

Photo courtesy Lake County Jail

CLERMONT, Fla. – A Florida man is behind bars after he became violent at an outdoor church service, knocking the pastor and other churchgoers to the ground because he thought the service was too loud, according to the Clermont Police Department.

Officers were called to 743 E. Montrose St. Sunday morning for reports of a physical fight happening at a church service. When officers arrived, they found Alan Cheesbourough, 34, resisting the arrest of other officers who had already responded to the scene, authorities said.

Police said Cheesbourough was furiously resisting officers, positioning his hands to avoid handcuffs and swinging his legs so restraints could not be used. A report showed that Cheesbourough was yelling “rape” and “I can’t breathe” as officers attempted to take him into custody, although records show Cheesbourough was positioned on his side so he could freely breathe and no sexual assault had taken place.

Cheesbourough insisted he was injured in the process of his arrest so EMS was requested, but when he was examined by a doctor, “no legitimate concerns for injury or sickness” were found, according to a report.

Officers at the scene began collecting witness statements from the incident.

A video taken by a witness showed Cheesbourough approach several people attending the church service, including the pastor, and engage in a verbal argument. A report said the video then showed Cheesbourough becoming aggressive, pushing and shoving churchgoers. Police said that at no point did the video show any attendees instigate the altercation with Cheesbourough.

Another witness told police that Cheesbourough approached the service yelling that the gathering was too loud and to turn the volume down. Witnesses said Cheesbourough pushed the pastor over, causing him to fall and knock over other churchgoers and sound equipment.

A third witness told police that Cheesbourough was throwing punches at guests, even swinging at the pastor, according to a report.

Cheesbourough was arrested on multiple charges, including disturbing a religious assembly, resisting officers without violence, battery and possession of drug paraphernalia, among others. He is being held at the Lake County Jail without bond, records show.

About the Author:

Erin began her career at News 6 as an assignment editor, then became a show producer. She is now a digital storyteller as part of the Click Orlando team.