Man in prison for officer assault

Bryant pleads guilty to injuring three FCSO deputies

By Ryan Carter - [email protected]



A 26-year-old Bloomingburg man is serving a five to six-and-a-half year prison term for assaulting three Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputies during a domestic dispute complaint.

On Nov. 1 in Fayette County Common Pleas Court, James Alan Bryant pled guilty to first-degree felonious assault and two counts of fourth-degree felony assault as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Judge Steven Beathard sentenced Bryant to a minimum mandatory term of three years and a maximum term of four-and-half years on the felonious assault charge, and one year on both counts of assault.

All three counts were ordered to be served consecutively for a total five to six-and-a-half year term. Post-release control is mandatory in this case for a period of five years after Bryant serves his prison time.

According to the grand jury indictment, Bryant caused serious physical harm on July 17 to deputy Brian Dement and injured Sgt. Dirk Witherspoon and deputy Sara Hempstead.

Just after midnight July 17, Witherspoon and Hempstead were dispatched to 20 Lincoln St. in Bloomingburg on a domestic dispute call. Bryant’s father said that his son, James, had been acting “very erratic and appeared to be heavily under the influence of narcotics,” according to reports. He told deputies that he was concerned about staying at the residence due to James Bryant’s behavior and when he went outside to contact the sheriff’s office, James locked him out of the home and would not let him back inside.

During this time, Dement arrived to the scene as well. Deputies forced entry into the residence on the request of Bryant’s father and once inside located Bryant at the top of the stairs on the second floor. According to reports, he immediately became hostile and argumentative with deputies.

As deputies attempted to calm Bryant down, Bryant allegedly began to assault the deputies.

According to the report from Deputy Hempstead, “James began elbowing Dep. Dement in the torso as Dep. Dement was attempting to gain control of James’ right arm.While slamming Dep. Dement against the table and elbowing Dep. Dement repeatedly, Dep. Dement suffered injuries to his left rib cage causing him to suffer significant pain and have difficulty breathing. (Hempstead) was able to grab James under his jaw line, applying pressure to the pressure point at the mandibular angle, however, due to how sweaty James was, he was able to pull free from all Deputies. Deputies re-engaged, repeatedly telling James to stop resisting and to put his hands behind his back. James continued to fight with Deputies, at one point grabbing Sgt. Witherspoon’s flashlight and ripping it from his hands. Sgt. Witherspoon again was able to place James in a wrist lock and James bit Sgt. Witherspoon’s left wrist area, leaving an obvious bite wound. I again was able to grab James by his pressure point at the mandibular angle and began pulling his head downward as we were attempting to get James to the ground. James continued kicking toward Deputies and continued resisting. Dep. Dement removed the cartridge from his Taser, delivering a drive stun to James’ back.”

Deputies were eventually able to secure Bryant in handcuffs and take him to the Fayette County Jail as he continued to fight and struggle, reports said.

Reach Record-Herald Editor Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.

Bryant pleads guilty to injuring three FCSO deputies

By Ryan Carter

[email protected]