Courthouse incident ends in arrest
By Michael Browning
By RACHEL C. DOVE
WILLIAMSON - A verbal altercation that allegedly ensued between a Delbarton resident and Mingo Sheriff Lonnie Hannah resulted in an arrest on charges of battery on a police officer.
According to the police report from Mingo County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Joe Smith, Arvil Lee Runyon, 57, of Varney, came into the sheriff’s office to speak with Sheriff Hannah about a vehicle that was reportedly impounded that belonged to a family member.
During the discussion, Runyon allegedly became irate and is said to have begun using profanity.
Hannah asked Runyon to leave the office because of his verbal outbursts. Sgt. Smith proceeded to escort Runyon down the hall from the office, toward the door of the courthouse.
According to Smith, the defendant once again began swearing loudly. The verbal exchange is then reported to have become physical, when Runyon allegedly shoved Smith in the chest area, and is also said to have raised his metal cane at Smith in a threatening manner.
Runyon walks with the assistance of a cane, due to serious injuries he sustained in an automobile accident approximately one year ago.
Smith said that Runyon was surrounded by a total of three officers and a court bailiff in a matter of minutes, and had to be restrained with handcuffs. He was then taken to magistrate court where, after investigation and deliberation between Magistrate Dallas Toler, Smith and Prosecutor C. Michael Sparks, he was released after being arraigned on one count of battery on a police officer.
The defendant paid a $500 fine and court costs.
“No matter what the situation, you cannot threaten or assault someone wearing a badge,” said Sparks. “It’s always best to approach these situations with a cool head to try to avoid something like this from happening.
“Sgt. Smith handled the situation in a professional and calm manner.”
“I try hard to prevent problems before they occur,” said Smith. “We gave the defendant every opportunity to just walk away.
“But in this situation, it was apparent that Mr. Runyon wasn’t going to leave the courthouse calmly.”
“All I wanted to do was talk to the sheriff, and he had no business talking down to me the way he did. I got angry, anyone would have,” said Runyon as he was exiting magistrate court.
Lt. Randy Hatfield and Deputy Mike Miller assisted Smith with the arrest. Unless other charges are instated against Runyon, the case is closed.
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