SEATTLE — A man who transfixed Seattle — and the Internet — by perching near the top of an 80-foot sequoia tree in a downtown shopping district for more than a day has been accused of malicious mischief and booked into jail.
Cody Lee Miller, 28, climbed near the top of the conifer on Tuesday and stayed for about 25 hours, ignoring police efforts to coax him down for much of it and hurling apples and branches at officers. The drama sparked intense interest online, with new Twitter accounts and the hashtag #ManInTree trending on Twitter and Facebook.
After he climbed down, Miller was taken to a hospital and received physical and mental evaluations, officials said. He was expected to make an initial court appearance Thursday.
"We are now working with him trying to get a clearer picture of what exactly led to this point," Detective Patrick Michaud said Wednesday.
Officials have not said if Miller is a member of the city's ballooning homeless population. But a police report released Thursday said he was arrested on March 19 after being approached by a bicycle officer because he was sitting on the sidewalk in front of a Starbucks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The officer arrested him for false reporting because he initially gave a fake name, the report said.
"The subject became agitated and began ranting about being harassed and wanting to leave," the officer wrote. "I explained to the subject that he is delaying his ability to walk away by his ranting about the United States of America's Bill of Rights."
Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency as deaths of homeless people mounted last fall, and the city has authorized new tent cities and safe parking lots for those living without shelter or in their vehicles.
While Miller was in the tree, he at times appeared agitated, gestured wildly and threw what a police report described as "rock hard green pine cones." Police tried to speak with him from a firetruck ladder and the sixth-floor windows of the Macy's department store next door.
A local TV station live-streamed video of the man as he dozed, shouted and knocked around a stick.
When the man finally descended Wednesday, he was greeted by onlookers who cheered the safe resolution by chanting "Man in tree!" — in deference to the Twitter hashtag. He sat down and appeared to be eating a piece of fruit.
Officers initially kept their distance but soon approached the man, got him on a gurney and took him for medical evaluations.
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