CLEARWATER, FL -- Police say the bartender at the Best Western Hotel on Gulf Boulevard in Clearwater called shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday night. He reported a naked man touching himself inappropriately on the beach behind the hotel.
Officers say when they arrived, 35-year-old Matt Berns took off running and jumped into the Gulf. Clearwater Fire Rescue and the Coast Guard spent two hours coaxing Berns out of the water. At one point, while in the water, video shows Berns making what appears to be obscene gestures toward the officers.
Authorities finally fished Berns out of the water around 1 a.m. Friday. They wrapped a towel around him, strapped him in a gurney and took him to the hospital.
Berns now faces charges of battery on a Law Enforcement officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. Authorities say, once on shore, Berns spat on an officer.
According to Clearwater Police, Berns is a resident of Burlington, Iowa. He is visiting Clearwater for a Friday wedding he is supposed to attend.
Authorities say alcohol is a factor in this situation.
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