Jalen Cohen was arrested May 5 after his reaction to his son being too short for Woodstock Express at Carowinds amusement park.

A Carowinds guest is facing serious charges for his violent reaction when staff said his son was too short to ride the Woodstock Express.

Jalen Cohen, 28, of Durham, N.C., threatened park staff, demanded a full refund and bloodied a responding officer May 5 while being arrested at the amusement park, according to a sheriff’s report.

Cohen was at the Charlotte-area theme park that Sunday when he tried to take his son on the children’s roller coaster for a second time, according to a report from the York County Sheriff’s Office.

“Jalen was upset that his child was allowed to ride the ride earlier in the day but when the child was rechecked for his size later on,​ he wasn’t tall enough,” the report says. “Jalen became irate and made blanket threatening statements to all the employees working the ride. ​Jalen ​began to complain that he wanted his money back from the park for his child not being able to ride the ride.”

According to a park website, guests must be 46″ tall to ride alone or 40″ tall and accompanied by a supervising companion to ride Woodstock Express, a pint-sized roller coaster located in Camp Snoopy. Cohen did not like the rule, cursed at staff, demanded the refund and threatened a ride supervisor.

“If I don’t get my bread,​ y’all gonna catch these hands,” he allegedly said.

​Detective David Beard responded and was talking to all ride staff when park supervisor​ Michael Parsons arrived to speak to the angry father. ​Detective Beard had determined that Cohen was going to need to leave the park without charges, but Parsons said he wanted to press charges after being threatened by the suspect.

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Later, Cohen moved to Leonardo’s restaurant and waited to speak with Detective Beard. When the officer told him he was under arrest, the suspect tried to use his phone to call someone and then refused the officer’s orders to walk with him out of the park, a report says.

“Get your hands off me,​ I ain’t a dog,” Cohen allegedly said.

During the incident, Cohen kicked the officer in the leg multiple times and puffed his chest toward him. So the officer took Cohen to the ground. Detective Beard’s Apple watch was smashed during Cohen’s ​resistance, the report says. ​

​As Detective Beard and Cohen passed Harmony Hall inside the park,​ the suspect dropped all of his body weight to the ground, a report says. Several other officers arrived and helped escort the suspect through Harmony Hall ​to the back of the amusement park and a waiting sheriff’s patrol car.

Detective Beard was treated by a Carowinds nurse for bloody knees and elbows and a few cuts on multiple knuckles, the report says.

Cohen was charged with assault and battery in the third degree, resisting arrest – beat or wound police officer, ​and malicious injury to personal property. He was booked into the York County Detention Center and eventually released on bond, pending trial.

Greg "Ricky Bobby" Rickabaugh has lived in the Fort Mill and York County community since 2006. He has covered the area while a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer for The Fort Mill...

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3 Comments

  1. And people wonder why kids don’t know how to act. Look at their ‘role models’. Unreal

  2. Thugs! People just don’t have respect anymore for anyone. And his poor child had to be upset and scared but he may be use to it. His father probably yells at him like that too.

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