NEWTON — A man is facing multiple assault charges after he allegedly punched two Newton police officers Saturday night, knocking one unconscious and attempting to take their guns as they responded to a domestic violence call, officials said Sunday.
Newton Police Chief John Carmichael said the officers, whom he described as “veterans” of the department, were released from Newton Wellesley Hospital overnight and are recovering. One of them suffered a concussion, he said.
“This is just a situation that our officers face every day,” Carmichael said in a Sunday afternoon news conference with Mayor Ruthanne Fuller outside Newton police headquarters. “They go to these types of calls and they’re very unpredictable and very dynamic.”
“Our thoughts right now are with [the officers] in their recovery, as well as the victim that was involved in this case,” he said.
Police went to an apartment building on Watertown Street at about 10 p.m. to investigate a report of a domestic assault in which a person had been punched in the face, Carmichael said.
Outside the building, officers encountered a man who then retreated inside, Carmichael said. The officers told the man he was under arrest and followed him into a bedroom, where he jumped onto a bed and told the officers they would not take him, Carmichael said.
The man, whose name was not released, allegedly began punching the officers as they attempted to place him in handcuffs, Carmichael said. The officers pulled the man onto the ground, breaking a coffee table in the apartment as the struggle continued, he said.
The man allegedly punched one officer in the side of the head and attempted to take the officer’s firearm from its holster, he said. The man was handcuffed but allegedly managed to try pulling a gun off one of the officers again, Carmichael said.
“The individual was being led out and, having his hands behind his back, he was still able to grab onto one of the officer’s firearms, which was holstered at the time,” Carmichael said.
Carmichael said “several” officers responded to the incident. None of them was wearing a body camera, though steps are underway to incorporate them. The department is planning a pilot program to be held this summer, he said.
The man did not report any injuries to police and was not taken to a hospital, said a spokesperson for the Newton Police Department in a brief phone interview after the press conference.
Carmichael said the man is known to police and has “a history with assault and battery on police officers, as well as some other violent acts.”
Fuller applauded the officers for their response.
“They made sure the victim was OK, they arrested this alleged perpetrator in a safe way, [and] they took the brunt of the violence,” she said. “I am thinking of the two of them and their families and hoping for a speedy recovery.”
The man is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Newton District Court, where he will face charges of two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, two counts of attempting to disarm a police officer, and resisting arrest, Carmichael said.
Nick Stoico can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.