Independence man accused of assault on Oak Grove officer during traffic stop

OAK GROVE, Mo. -- A man who allegedly punched, kicked and smacked an Oak Grove police officer's flashlight in his face on Friday morning is facing two charges in Jackson County.

The officer stopped Jerry D. Davis for expired tags and a headlight out -- police say it ended with Davis assaulting the officer.

FOX4's Melissa Stern talked with the Oak Grove chief of police about what they say happened in the incident that led to second-degree assault and resisting arrest charges against Davis.

“He observed a vehicle that had a headlight out and expired plates,” said Chief Bryon Price.

A nine-year veteran officer with Oak Grove police is off duty until further notice after a routine traffic stop around 5:30 Friday morning turned violent.

“He stopped the vehicle, on the on-ramp for westbound I-70, just at the end of the ramp, as he got the vehicle stopped, the driver exited the vehicle, and started to walk back,” Price added.

Chief Price said Davis was not complying with the officer's verbal commands to stop and take his hands out of his pockets.

“Then the driver went back and was leaning in the vehicle and actually came out with a cell phone,” Price said.

He said Davis was screaming at the officer.

“There were more orders given, and a conversation, the driver did not believe he had a headlight out,” added Price.

According to court records filed Friday -- the officer and Davis went around to the front of the car to look at the headlight. Court documents say at one point Davis punched the officer's flashlight back into the officer's face.

“I`ll classify them as minor injuries, he does have one injury to his hand that he`ll have to follow up with the specialist,” said Price.

The officer and Davis struggled, and another officer arrived, but they say Davis continued to fight.

“His backing officer heard him get out on the stop, he did notify the dispatcher that he was fighting a subject, the dispatcher did not hear that, although his assisting officer did,” Price said.

The officers used a taser on Davis twice until he was handcuffed.

“He was not cooperative even after he was put in handcuffs,” Price said.

The officer was taken to Centerpoint Medical Center, he's been released, and is recovering at home.

Davis had minor scratches and was taken to jail. Chief Price says luckily everyone is okay, but this is a good reminder to stay in your car if you're pulled over.

“Jumping out of the car, the officer really doesn't know what`s coming next, so it puts us on heightened alert,” Price said.

Chief Price says when the officer will return to work depends on the extent of his injuries.