$250,000 cash-only bond set for police assault suspect

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 10:56 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A Lawrence County man appeared in court Wednesday as more details were released after his arrest on suspicion of assaulting several officers.

Three police officers were injured after investigators say Matthew Dale Hatley, 26, of Black Rock attacked them on a local highway.

Hatley was arrested on suspicion of battery in the first degree, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (Class Y felony), three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (Class D felony), possession of firearm by certain persons, battery in the second degree and terroristic threatening 1st degree in the case.

Hoxie Police Chief Glen Smith said the incident happened around 9 a.m. Monday, June 14, on the Highway 63 bridge over the 367 Exchange.

According to Lawrence County Chief Deputy Tony Waldrupe, 911 received multiple calls about a man “jumping out into traffic.”

When a Hoxie police officer -- later identified as Daniel Hill -- spotted the man in his vehicle, Hoxie officers said Hatley entered the officer’s vehicle, hitting him with an iron pipe.

According to a probable cause affidavit released Wednesday afternoon, Officer Hill grabbed the pipe and Hatley entered the vehicle on top of Hill, pinning him in the seat.

“Hatley struggled, reached for Patrolman Hill’s handgun and after a struggle, retrieved the handgun and pointed it toward Patrolman Hill’s face,” the affidavit noted. “Hatley told Patrolman Hill that he was going to kill him.”

Hill struggled with Hatley and pushed the gun away into the passenger seat when Hatley fired the handgun, police said.

The struggle between Hill and Hatley continued as Hatley struck Hill several times with his fist and hands, police said.

Walnut Ridge Police Chief Jordan Cooksey also went to the scene to help and used his Taser on Hatley.

Officers were able to get Hatley to a nearby patrol car, but police say he continued to fight with officers. Police said Hatley broke the handcuffs and bit several officers, while Hill had a fractured neck, eye socket and nasal cavity, while Cooksey received head injuries.

Two officers were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and another was treated with minor injuries. All have since been released.

Chief Smith met with Region 8 News about the incident Tuesday. He said his staff is now down to four full-time and four part-time officers until Hill recovers.

Chief Smith himself just started working full-time again after he was working an incident. He said that he is going to give Hill all the time he needs to recover.

“We’re short-staffed anyways, but we’re going to get through it,” Smith said. “I’ve got a group of guys that’s very good guys, for the money they make, they will earn it I promise you.”

Chief Dept. Waldrupe added that one of his officers was also banged up in the incident.

A $250,000 cash-only bond was set Wednesday for Hatley, who will be arraigned July 20 in circuit court at Walnut Ridge.

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