Seven cops injured as Md. man bites, spits on them during WPB-area traffic arrest

·2 min read
Stock cop lights array
Stock cop lights array

WEST PALM BEACH — Seven Palm Beach County sheriff's deputies were injured Friday when a man they were arresting bit and spat on them at an intersection in suburban West Palm Beach.

The Maryland man, whose car was blocking traffic in the intersection at Haverhill Road and Loring Drive, attacked the deputies after they tried to subdue him with rubber bullets, the sheriff's office said.

The incident happened one block south of Egret Lake Elementary School.

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Jerome Dawkins, 35, reportedly parked his car at the intersection in unincorporated West Palm Beach at about 11:54 a.m. and would not allow southbound traffic to pass. When police arrived, Dawkins drove his 2020 Nissan Altima into a deputy's vehicle, the sheriff's office said.

When he tried to drive away, deputies used tire-deflating stop sticks to slow him down. They removed Dawkins from the car and he began to spit on and bite officers, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies deployed rubber bullets to try to get control of Dawkins, sheriff's office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said Saturday.

"The less lethal option is the first, if we can," she said of the rubber bullets. "Usually what is does is it stops somebody and stuns (them) for a second."

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Deputies arrested Dawkins and charged him with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and evading arrest, and resisting arrest with violence in an encounter on the roadway.

Medical personnel treated seven officers for bites, road rash and exposure to bodily fluids following the arrest.

Dawkins' address is listed in Adelphi, Md., an unincorporated area about nine miles northeast of Washington, D.C.

He appeared in court Saturday morning, where his bond was set at $22,500 for the three charges. He remained in the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office main detention center as of 11 a.m. Saturday.

Katherine Kokal is a journalist covering northern Palm Beach County at The Palm Beach Post. You can reach her at kkokal@pbpost.com. Help support our work, subscribe today!

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Police shot rubber bullets, arrested man in West Palm Beach Friday