DEXTER, Maine — An officer was punched in the face and head-butted early Sunday morning after stopping to check on the welfare of a man weaving his way down Water Street, Dexter police Sgt. Kevin Wintle said Monday.
Gordon Ginnish, 25, of Plymouth was arrested around 5:40 a.m. and charged with felony assault to a police officer, which carries a penalty of five years in prison.
Officer Dana Gatcomb found Ginnish “very intoxicated and staggering,” Wintle said.
Before stopping his cruiser, the officer saw Ginnish pick up a set of front steps and throw them to the ground, destroying them, the sergeant said.
The situation turned dangerous when the officer stopped his police car and Ginnish ran up to the passenger’s side and attempted to open the cruiser’s door, the lieutenant said.
“Mr. Ginnish was out of control, yelling and swearing at Gatcomb,” Wintle said. “He got very verbally aggressive and he was given a disorderly conduct warning.”
Ginnish, who was out on bail, told the officer that he had “just been assaulted at one of the local bars,” but his story changed during the interview and Gatcomb learned that Ginnish was with friends when assaulted.
When Gatcomb got out of his cruiser, Ginnish reportedly attacked the officer.
“He was on Officer Gatcomb very quickly,” Wintle said. “Officer Gatcomb was hit in the face with a clenched fist” and suffered a bloody nose.
The officer took Ginnish to the ground and handcuffed him, but that didn’t stop the assault. When Gatcomb put Ginnish into the back of his cruiser, he leaned down “to shut the door and Ginnish head-butted him,” causing Gatcomb to suffer a concussion, the lieutenant said. “Once inside the police cruiser, he kicked the rear driver’s-side window out.”
Newport police arrived to assist and Ginnish and the officer both were taken to Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft. Ginnish was treated for injuries that occurred in the earlier assault, Wintle said. He was placed in protective custody but was arrested when released from the hospital at 9 p.m. and charged with the felony assault and violating his bail conditions. He was taken to the Penobscot County Jail in Bangor.
“The case is still under investigation and more … charges are possible,” Wintle said.