Mitchell man arrested after obstructing traffic and harassing motorists for rides and money

MITCHELL – A Mitchell man was arrested Monday after Mitchell Police received a call at 8:07 a.m. reporting an unwanted man at 6th and Brook streets.

As Officer Michael Bargo responded he was alerted the male was 56-year-old Kenneth Banks and was now standing in the middle of 6th Street, knocking on vehicle doors and harassing people. 

Kenneth Banks

Police have responded to numerous calls about Banks standing in the roadway, flagging down vehicles, and trying to open car doors.  Banks has been warned numerous times by the responding officers.

On January 29th officers responded to 11 calls in regard to Banks’ behavior. Those calls consisted of Banks flagging down vehicles, standing in the middle of the road, asking for money, and trying to get into vehicles when they stopped.

An officer parked along the side of 6th Street witnessed Banks flag down numerous vehicles by waving his arms in the air. He also attempted to stop a vehicle by standing in the roadway. One vehicle had to swerve to avoid Banks.

It was witnessed that Banks then walked to the middle of the intersection of 6th and Main streets, stopped a vehicle, and actually entered into the front passenger side seat.

The officer followed the vehicle to the Dollar General store where Banks exited the vehicle. Banks walked to and entered Smoker Friendly. Once he exited Smoker Friendly he returned back to the Dollar General store parking lot, where he continued to flag down vehicles. Banks continued his journey and was seen on Main street and 13th street waving his arms to once again stop a vehicle, causing that vehicle to swerve around Banks. 

Banks was stopped by the officer and warned that he could not obstruct traffic nor harass motorists.

Banks said, “I’m just needing a ride and a couple of bucks for smokes man”.

When the officer warned him again, Banks said, “I know Bargo, I won’t do it again,  I just need someone to give me a ride”.

Banks was detained on a charge of obstruction of traffic and transported to the Lawrence County Jail.