Police Chief Indicted on 4 Counts of Assault at Resort
An Alaska police chief has been indicted on multiple charges over a September incident that left a Washington state man injured.
A grand jury on Thursday indicted Ketchikan Police Chief Jeffrey Walls on one count of third-degree assault, a felony, three misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree assault, and two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, according to KTUU-TV in Anchorage.
Walls had a court hearing Friday, at which he entered a plea of not guilty, and is still serving as police chief, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Ketchikan Police Chief Jeff Walls faces one felony charge and five misdemeanor charges, the most serious of which is third-degree assault — injuring someone with a dangerous instrument.https://t.co/zJqeZNyfDg
— Alaska Public Media News (@AKpublicnews) December 30, 2022
Ketchikan, with a population of about 8,000, is in the southeastern part of the state, near the border with British Columbia.
Jay Hochberg, the attorney representing Walls, said a patron at the Salmon Falls Resort north of Ketchikan “crashed into both Chief Walls and his wife” injuring them.
“Chief Walls then determined the man had committed an assault, which was a correct determination, and determined the man needed to be arrested. He, like any citizen of Alaska has a right, as a crime victim, to use reasonable force to detain an individual who has just committed an assault. That is precisely what he did. He did nothing wrong,” Hochberg said, according to KRBD-FM in Ketchikan.
According to KTUU, documents outlining the charges against Walls said that on Sept. 10, a man at the resort was drunk and “intentionally” hit the chair where Walls was sitting. Walls was not on duty at the time.
That incident ended without any violence, but not a second one that took place an hour later in which the man hit the chair where Walls’ wife was sitting, according to the court documents.
“According to multiple witnesses, Jeffrey Walls got up from his seat, ran after (the victim) and pushed (the victim) head first into a wall made of rock/stone,” the documents state, according to KTUU.
“After Jeffrey Walls pushed (the victim) into the rock/stone wall, Jeffrey Walls placed (the victim) into what multiple witnesses described as a chokehold. It took multiple people around thirty seconds or more to physically remove Jeffrey Walls from applying the chokehold to (the victim),” the documents state, according to KTUU.
The victim had a cut on his forehead that required stitches.
The documents estimated he was in a chokehold for between one and two minutes and that he “could not speak and his head began turning red,” according to KTUU.
“After Jeffrey Walls is completely pulled away by these people, he makes an attempt to reengage with the person he was physically removed from, causing those who pulled him away the first time to have to pull him back from going in again,” the documents state, according to KTUU.
The Anchorage Daily News reported that the man injured in the incident, identified as a 36-year-old from Washington state, was initially considered to be the instigator and was arrested and jailed.
The man was later freed and the charges against him were dismissed. the Daily News reported.
Hochberg said Walls is “very interested and anxious to get into court as quickly as reasonably possible to preserve and defend and protect his own reputation, show the community of Ketchikan that he has done absolutely nothing wrong,” according to the Daily News
Ketchikan City Manager Delilah Walsh told the newspaper that an internal investigation will be conducted to determine if any action needs to be taken by the city.
“We will treat Chief Walls just like any other officer or employee,” Walsh said, according to the Daily News.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.