A man in the United States who fought back when a police officer tried to arrest him has been charged with assault because the office broke their hand when they punched him in the face.
Ozark Police Department Officer Trevor Spencer admits punching Matthew Calhoun "two or three times" as he tried to arrest him outside a convenience store in Ozark, Missouri.
Prosecutor Janette Bleau said in court on Tuesday (September 22) that Calhoun’s aggressive behaviour had put the officer in a position where he had to defend himself, causing the injury.
Officer Spencer testified that the incident started late at night on December 14 last year, when he suspected a car driven Calhoun might be speeding, although he admitted that he didn’t have appropriate equipment in his police car to confirm that.
He followed Calhoun’s vehicle along Highway 65, reports the Springfield News-Leader, and after running the license plate discovered that there was an active warrant for Calhoun’s arrest in a drug possession case.
Eventually, Calhoun stopped at a Fast-N-Friendly convenience store. Spencer got out of his police cruiser to detain Calhoun and a scuffle ensued.
Officer Spencer said that during the struggle he punched Calhoun "two or three times" in the face, breaking his hand.
While Calhoun managed to break free and run away, Officer Spencer says he managed to catch up with him and used a Taser to subdue the suspect and take him into custody.
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On Tuesday, Calhoun's defence attorney Stacie Bilyeu called it ridiculous to charge her client with using his face to cause "serious physical injury" to an officer's fist.
She branded the case "absurd," adding, "are we supposed to feel sorry for Officer Spencer because he broke his hand on my client's face?"
Judge Douglas Bacon set aside a charge of resisting arrest because the state was unable to show that Spencer ever told Calhoun he was under arrest.
However, Calhoun now faces a felony assault charge, which can carry a 15-year prison sentence.
The case will now move on to circuit court where Calhoun could end up going before a jury to determine whether or not he is guilty of assaulting the officer.
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