Williamson Daily News

WILLIAMSON - A Matewan man attacked a Williamson City Police officer at the Mingo County Division of Motor Vehicles on Friday, Aug. 2, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mingo County Magistrate Court.

James Michael Daniels, 49, has been charged with malicious assault on an officer and willful disruption of governmental processes, according to the report.

Daniels was at the DMV building on Third Avenue in Williamson when he allegedly became belligerent with employees.

When patrolman James Spence of the WPD arrived, he observed Daniels cussing and screaming at the employees.

The officer approached Daniels and asked him to calm down, but he refused. Spence attempted to escort the defendant outside, but he allegedly pushed the officer back and balled up his fist.

Spence pulled out his taser and told the defendant to calm down. Daniels said, "Are you going to tase me?", and then charged at the officer.

Spence deployed the taser, but Daniels pulled out the leads and continued charging at Spence, punching the officer in the head and face several times. Spence attempted to get his pepper spray out when Daniels charged and hit the officer again.

Spence eventually got away from the defendant and was able to deploy the pepper spray, at which point Daniels left the DMV and attempted to get in his car and leave.

The officer was able to subdue Daniels, and backup arrived several minutes later from a Mingo County sheriff's deputy. The defendant was handcuffed and taken into custody.

Spence was treated for his injuries.

According to Williamson Police Chief Grady Dotson, Spence was the lone city police officer on duty that day as the rest of the department had traveled to Institute to watch Patrolman Matt Tiller graduate from the West Virginia State Police Academy.

The department currently employs only five full-time officers and one temporary officer. Dotson said that due to the lack of manpower, officers routinely have to work shifts without any backup, which creates dangers for all parties involved.

Daniels was arraigned by Mingo County Magistrate Donald Sansom and sent to the Southwest Regional Jail. He has since been released on bond. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.