Nearly 2 years for assaulting police officer

A Longbranch man convicted of assaulting an Aberdeen police officer was sentenced to nearly two years in prison Monday in Grays Harbor Superior Court.

Gary D. Hammell, 33, was charged with third-degree assault after an altercation with a police officer trying to arrest him Sept. 13.

Aberdeen Police received multiple calls about a truck driving recklessly around the block multiple times near Oak Street. An officer approached Hammell in his parked truck, which had the window down, and loudly asked Hammell to hang up his cell phone.

According to court documents, she could smell alcohol on Hammell.

“She yelled at him again, saying, ‘Hey,’ to which the defendant responded, ‘Why are you bothering me? Why are you talking to me?’ ” court documents stated.

She told Hammell that if he did not turn off his engine and produce identification, she would remove him from his vehicle. He allegedly failed to respond, and when the officer opened his door, he closed and locked it.

The officer told Hammell he was under arrest, reached through the window to unlock the door, and Hammell allegedly pushed the door open, hitting her in the chest.

Hammell is accused of shoving his shoulder into the officer’s chest, knocking her to the ground.

“She had to use her Taser several times, without any noticeable effect on the defendant, who continued to resist. As she tried to take control of the defendant he struck her in the arms and knocked the Taser out of her hands,” court documents said.

Hammell was sentenced to 22 months in prison for the assault. His attorney, Orlando Tadique, said Hammell is an alcoholic.

“Mr. Hammell has a drinking problem and his criminal history reflects that,” Tadique said.

Hammell apologized to the court, saying the experience was an eye-opener he needed to confront his drinking problem.

“She was trying to do her job, she was trying to do it safely. I should have got on the ground. Next time, if there is a next time, I don’t care if there is a pile of poop on the ground, I’m getting down. Tasing hurts,” Hammell said.

Judge David Edwards said he hoped to provide his own incentive for good behavior.

“The only thing I wish is I could give you more than the 22 months,” Edwards said. He added that if Hammell came before him again, “you’ll get the top of the range every time.”