Man tells deputies aiming a banana was stunt; he’s jailed, anyway
Two deputies with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Fruitvale man Sunday who they initially thought had threatened them with a gun.
Call it, instead, a case of drive-by fruiting.
The man was pointing a banana at them.
The deputies, Joshua Bunch and Donald Love, said they feared for their safety when the man, 27-year-old Nathan Rolf Channing, pointed a banana at them while crossing the 29 Road bridge on foot, according to Channing’s arrest affidavit.
Both deputies said they saw that the “gun” was yellow, but feared for their lives nonetheless, the affidavit says.
“I immediately ducked in my patrol car and accelerated continuing northbound, fearing that it was a weapon,” Bunch wrote in the affidavit, which lists Love and him as victims. “Based on training and experience, I have seen handguns in many shapes and colors and perceived this to be a handgun.”
What started as a joke, however, had the potential to turn deadly, the affidavit says.
“Deputy Love stated that he was in fear of his life at this point and was in the process of pulling out his handgun when Nathan yelled, ‘It’s a banana!’ ” Bunch wrote.
Channing told the deputies he is a stand-up comedian and was doing a trial run for a planned YouTube video, something he said he did often, because he thought it would be funny.
A search of YouTube turned up no prior comedy stunts by Channing, but it did show a video of him performing on the guitar that was recorded in February on Colorado Mesa University TV.
The banana incident was not recorded, Channing told the deputies.
“I informed Nathan there were multiple cars in the area and he did not point anything in their direction, but only in our direction,” Bunch wrote in the affidavit. “Nathan’s only explanation for pointing the banana at law enforcement was it was a joke to post on the Internet that was not recorded. Nathan explained that he thought it would, ‘lighten the holiday spirit.’”
The deputies, however, said in the affidavit they didn’t find the incident at all funny, saying, “Nathan by physical action, knowingly placed Deputy Love and I in imminent fear by use of an article fashioned in the manner to cause us to reasonably believe it was a deadly weapon.”
They jailed Channing on suspicion of felony menacing, a Class 5 felony punishable by up to three years in jail and a $100,000 fine.