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Officer assaulted when tries to break up fight


News Staff Writer

An Atmore man was arrested February 22 after he attacked an Atmore Police Department patrol officer who was trying to break up a fight between the man and another individual.
Kelly Andrew Barton, 57, remained in the Escambia County Detention Center late Monday, charged with one count each of harassment, second-degree assault and third-degree assault. He is being held under total bonds of $15,000.
Police Chief Chuck Brooks said this week the incident that led to the arrest took place at a mobile home park just off Alabama 21 North. Officers were dispatched in response to a report of a “disorderly male” at the park.
When officers arrived, they witnessed that at least two individuals — one of them Barton — were involved in a fist fight. Brooks said an officer who stepped in to separate the combatants was suddenly thrust into the midst of the melee.
“One of our officers tried to break the fight up, and (Barton) became combative toward the officer,” the chief said. “He was given several verbal commands but ignored them. The officer then Tased him in an effort to subdue him, but he continued to resist.”
Finally, “additional units arrived and were able to arrest (Barton),” Brooks added.
According to Alabama Criminal Code, second-degree assault (a Class C felony) and third-degree assault (a Class A misdemeanor) can be charged if, “with intent to prevent a peace officer … or emergency medical personnel or a firefighter from performing a lawful duty, he or she intends to cause physical injury and he or she causes physical injury to any person.”
A conviction for second-degree assault carries a penalty range from a year and a day in jail, up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. A third-degree assault conviction is punishable by “not more than one year of hard labor in the county jail” and a fine of up to $6,000.
Harassment is a Class C misdemeanor that could result, upon conviction, in “up to three months in jail and/or a $500 fine.”