NORWAY – A police officer was assaulted twice last weekend, the second time at the hospital where he was being treated from the first attack.
After getting into a vicious fight with an unruly man on Main Street earlier Saturday evening, Officer Harry Sims went to the hospital with two chipped teeth and bruises.
Then he was allegedly punched in the shoulder by a patient wanting to go to jail.
The plan worked. Sims arrested Peggy Cecile Cook, 44, of Gainsville, Ga., on a charge of assaulting a police officer. According to a police report, Cook had been trashing her hospital room and threatening more damage if she wasn’t sent to jail to be with her husband, Timothy Lee Cook, 36, also of Gainsville. Timothy Cook had been arrested the day before on a charge of giving a false name and address to a deputy sheriff.
Police didn’t say why Peggy Cook was a patient or what she was doing in the area.
Sims’ raucous night began when he responded to a call at 477 Main St. before midnight after the landlords reported a boyfriend of one of their tenants was causing problems.
Michael Scott Landers, 21, of Oxford, presumably upset that his girlfriend had not returned to her apartment on time, was playing music loudly and stomping around, Sims, 37, wrote in his report. When his girlfriend returned and saw the scene, which included a chair Landers had broken and a desk he might have burned, she left, further enraging Landers, who smashed a window and ran off.
But he came back soon, running up the stairs, shoving Sims out of the way as he tried to get into his girlfriend’s apartment.
“I grabbed his right arm and told him he was under arrest for assaulting me,” Sims wrote. “He immediately swung around and punched me square in the mouth with a closed fist. As he continued to flail and punch at my face, I used a low kick to his legs and knock (sic) him to the floor.”
Even on the floor, Landers kept thrashing and kicking, causing Sims to miss in his blow with his flash light, striking Sims on the shin rather than his thigh, he reported.
At one point, when Sims’ attention was diverted by people on the stairs yelling, Landers managed to wrestle free, and he charged at Sims, the officer reported.
The two fell against a counter, a wall and then to the floor, with Landers screaming expletives at the officer and telling him he was going to kill him. After Landers knocked Sims’ glasses off, Sims struck Landers’ face, stunning him long enough to get a handcuff on one arm, he reported.
Officer Christopher Pullen helped get Landers’ other arm in cuffs.
When Pullen and Sims went to pull Landers to his feet, “he suddenly kicked out and kicked Officer Pullen hard in the leg.” At that point, Sims sprayed him with pepper spray.
“The pepper spray had a near instantaneous effect, and Landers said, Oh my god, that s— works good!’ He then became compliant and gave no further resistance,” Sims wrote.
Landers faces two charges of assaulting police officers, criminal threatening, refusing to submit to arrest or detention, and criminal mischief, both for the broken apartment window and for Sims’ broken eyeglasses.
Landers had to be washed at Oxford County Jail to rid him of the pepper spray.
Sims suffered a bruise under his right eye and redness in his left temple. At the hospital, he was given Tylenol and a doctor advised him to follow up with his dentist to repair his two chipped teeth.
Landers pleaded not guilty to the charges at 11th District Court on Tuesday and his bail was posted by a judge at $250. His case has been moved to Oxford County Superior Court.
Cook pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 72 hours credit for time served. Police are looking into further restitution to the hospital for damaged property.