Alva Review-Courier -

Buffalo man arrested at Freedom for assaulting officer


August 29, 2021

A man from Buffalo has been charged with assault and battery on a police officer after he allegedly punched a Woods County deputy in the eye with his fist.

Damien James Gibson, 20, of Buffalo, is charged with felony assault and battery on a police officer. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.

Gibson is also charged with two misdemeanors: resisting an officer and public intoxication.

Court records show on Saturday, Aug. 21, at about 1:30 a.m., Woods County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaleb Keplinger was on foot patrol for the dance after the Freedom Rodeo on Main Street in Freedom. He observed a white GMC pickup truck with a group of people in the bed of the pickup who were drinking alcohol.

Keplinger watched the pickup pull off of Main Street and turn right onto Highway 50, heading north. Prior to turning, he heard the occupants yelling explicit language at himself and the other deputies. He observed the pickup then pulled into Rhodes Park and headed to the southwest corner of the fairgrounds. The vehicle stopped in front of a camper.

Earlier in the night around 12:45 a.m. Keplinger had observed a group of people in the park south of the high school in Freedom who were drinking beer and talking about fighting others. Deputies Jones and Keplinger approached the group on foot to make sure everything was okay. Individuals in the group began to yell insults. Keplinger said they were just checking on them, asking them to remain civil and not cause any issues or they would end up in jail.

Keplinger asked one of the group to produce his identification as he appeared to be underage. The individual produced a Kentucky driver’s license bearing the name Justin Marshall. Marshall informed Keplinger he was part of the Russian mob and his mother was in the FBI so the deputies needed to be careful. Some of the group promised to handle the belligerent individuals, and the deputies left, returning to Main Street. Keplinger now recognized the same individuals as being in the bed of the pickup.

Keplinger notified Woods County E-911 he would be out with the vehicle. He pulled his patrol vehicle behind the pickup and asked what the problem was. The individuals in the pickup told him they had said what they needed to say. He stepped out of his vehicle and approached the parked pickup. He told the group they needed to talk about the transporting of open containers of beer in the bed of the pickup. Keplinger spoke with Marshall who said he did not know it was illegal to drink in a vehicle, and Keplinger should do whatever he was going to do. Keplinger told Marshall he could be arrested for public intoxication and transporting an open container. Marshall’s friend, later identified as Damien Gibson, began to act up and start yelling explicit language.

Keplinger asked Gibson to step out of the bed of the pickup. According to the affidavit, Gibson jumped off the bed of the pickup and charged toward Keplinger, standing nose to nose and pushing against the deputy. Keplinger observed the odor commonly associated with the consumption of intoxicating beverage on or about his person, red bloodshot watery eyes and slurred speech. Keplinger pushed Gibson backward to get him off, and Gibson pushed back.

Keplinger informed Gibson he was under arrest for public intoxication and transporting an open container of beer. He told Gibson to turn around and place his hands behind his back. Gibson informed Keplinger he was part of the Russian mob. Marshall then told Keplinger he had better not mess with Gibson because he would mess him up. Keplinger asked Marshall to back up.

Keplinger again told Gibson to place his hands behind his back. Gibson pulled away a second time and elbowed Keplinger in the side. The deputy placed his arm across Gibson’s chest and pulled him to the ground. Gibson and Keplinger began to fight and wrestle on the ground. Gibson got on top and punched Keplinger in the left eye. Keplinger began striking Gibson multiple times in the head and side in an attempt to subdue him and get him restrained.

Undersheriff Keith Dale arrived on scene and began attempts at crowd control to keep everyone back. Dale deployed his taser connecting with Gibson’s back. Dale used the taser again, firing his second cartridge connecting with Gibson again in an attempt to gain control of him. Keplinger managed to get on top of Gibson, and he and Dalw were able to restrain him and get him handcuffed. Pictures were later taken of all injuries.

Deputies Chase Bouziden, David Cummings and Chase Jones arrived on scene to assist. Dale asked Bouziden to transport Gibson to the Woods County Jail.

Bouziden and Keplinger arrived at the Woods County Jail about 2:14 a.m. Undersheriff Dale asked Alva EMS to come to the jail to check out Gibson and Keplinger. Gibson began complaining of his injuries and asked to be taken to the hospital for pain in his ribs, shoulder, face and back Gibson was released by medical staff at Share Medical Center at approximately 5 a.m. and was later booked into jail. Gibson’s bond has been set at $5,000.


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