Special to the Democrat
A Weatherford man who repeatedly threatened a Weatherford police officer and spit into his ear was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Parker County jury in a trial that concluded in district court in Weatherford on Thursday.
Daniel Joseph Dickerson, 39, was convicted of retaliation and harassment of a public servant in the trial.
According to trial testimony from the Weatherford officer, just before 2 a.m. on May 21, he was responding to a dispatch about someone leaving a fight at the Blind Horse Saloon just west of Weatherford when he saw Dickerson walking in the lane of travel on Mineral Wells Highway. Dickerson told the officer that he had been hit by a man at the bar, but that he was uninjured and did not want to file charges. After finding out that Dickerson planned to walk another two miles home and seeing that he was clearly drunk and already walking on the road, the officer arrested Dickerson for public intoxication.
“Once Mr. Dickerson found out he was going to jail, he started claiming non-existent injuries and fabricating an assault by the arresting officer,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Larry Fadler. “We verified that those claims were false because their entire encounter was captured on body camera video and the staff at Medical City Weatherford hospital had medically cleared him of all injuries.”
According to testimony, after his arrest, Dickerson threatened the officer five separate times, each captured on video and played for jurors. Among the threats, Dickerson told him that “I’ll go after you and everybody in your family, I swear to God, for the rest of my life.”
Once the hospital determined that Dickerson did not have any injuries and he was being transported to jail, Dickerson leaned forward from the back seat of the patrol car and spit through the cage and into the officer’s ear.
“Obviously, that is absolutely disgusting,” Swain said. “The officer had no idea if Mr. Dickerson had any diseases and was very concerned about contracting some kind of disease. On the video, jurors saw him putting large amounts of hand sanitizer on his hands and then into his ear to try to do what he could to disinfect the inside of his ear.”
The jury deliberated about 30 minutes before finding Dickerson guilty in both cases.
During the punishment phase of trial, a Fort Worth police officer to testify about how, in 2014, Dickerson made similar threats to him when he arrested him for public intoxication.
“At the time of our offense, Mr. Dickerson was on probation from Tarrant County for a felony burglary of a building and from Parker County for a misdemeanor evading arrest,” Fadler said. “We introduced copies of those judgments and argued to the jury that he simply did not deserve another probation for what he did to the officer in this case.”
“We wanted the jury to send a message to our county’s law enforcement community to let them know that the people of our county have their back,” Swain said. “When they gave Mr. Dickerson the maximum sentence available, they send that message loud and clear. They also let those who might do something like what Mr. Dickerson did that this kind of behavior is simply not acceptable and won’t be tolerated in Parker County, even if you’re drunk.”
Under Texas law, Dickerson will be eligible for parole in two years, Swain said.
415th District Judge Graham Quisenberry Towson presided over the trial.