Sheriff’s assault: felonyPublished 9:01pm Monday, December 10, 2012
What began as response to a simple assault ended with an assault on Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan, earning one woman a minimum stay in the county jail.
Sarah Worthy Waller, 34, of VOA Road, Washington, was arrested Dec. 3 on several charges, not the least of which was malicious conduct and assault with physical injury to a law enforcement officer, both felonies.
On Dec. 3, at about 9:30 p.m., sheriff’s office deputies responded to a report of a domestic disturbance on Warren Place, off Camp Leach Road between Bath and Washington, where three people reported being assaulted.
According to Maj. Kenneth Watson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, Waller reported the two men at the scene had assaulted her. The men at the scene — Waller’s boyfriend and a friend of the boyfriend — reported Waller had assaulted both of them.
Because Waller was bleeding from the mouth at the time, emergency medical personnel attempted to treat her, Watson said.
“(Waller) tried to light a cigarette in the back of the rescue truck, which is a serious problem when you have bottled oxygen and other flammable materials,” Watson said, adding that after Waller refused transport and treatment, deputies found, based on the evidence at the scene, Waller should be arrested for assault.
From there, the situated escalated, according to authorities, and the sheriff got involved.
“The sheriff routinely monitors the radio traffic and keeps track of what’s going on,” Watson explained. “He decided to meet deputies at the magistrates’ office.”
It was while magistrate, Jasper Mills, was reading charges against Waller — simple assault, resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer — that she became irate and aggressive, and Mills held her in contempt of court, according to Jordan.
“From that point, she’s in jail for five days,” Watson said.
On the way to the detention center, Waller kicked Jordan, then later spit on him when they attempted to restrain her.
“In our opinion, she was very intoxicated or impaired,” Watson said. “She got more and more violent as they tried to move her to the restraint chair.”
While Waller got an automatic five days in jail for the contempt charge, what it meant for Jordan was a trip to the emergency room to get tested for HIV, hepatitis and other blood-born diseases — standard operating procedure for any officer who has come contact with another person’s blood or saliva while on duty.
“These are the risks that anyone in law enforcement or medical services take, particularly when someone is intoxicated,” Jordan said.
While a sliding-grid in North Carolina’s structured sentencing will ultimately determine Waller’s sentence, Watson said the felony charges “exposes the person to a potential prison sentence of 12-months active time and beyond, based on their prior criminal history.”
Jordan said he takes assaults on his officers seriously: “If anybody spits or throws bodily fluids on one of our officers, we certainly intend to make charges every single time.”