Man convicted of assault after hitting officer with Bible

A Spokane man, Daniel W. Powell, has been convicted of striking a Clarkston police officer with a bible multiple times. (Nathanael Massey / Courtesy image)

A Spokane man who was arrested for repeatedly hitting a police officer with a Bible last year was convicted of assault and resisting arrest Tuesday in Clarkston.

Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols said the trial lasted less than a day and the jury, after viewing body camera footage of the incident, convicted Daniel W. Powell, 24, of third-degree assault and resisting arrest after just minutes of deliberation.

Powell had two low-level Clarkston warrants and a Spokane warrant out for his arrest when the altercation occurred, according to a police report. In body camera footage, Powell can be seen yelling “You’re disturbing my peace!” at an officer approaching him and waving a tattered paperback Bible in the air. Officer Darrin Boyd ordered Powell to stop striking at him before taking him to the ground. Powell repeatedly hit the officer with the Bible before he was handcuffed and shouted the officer should be ticketed for disturbing the peace.

Powell’s warrants stem from failure to appear at a hearing for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. Powell had previously been charged with rioting with a weapon in Spokane County.

Prosecutors said they were concerned Powell, who yelled gibberish during most of his altercation with police, may be dealing with mental health issues. Nichols said Eastern State Hospital evaluated Powell and determined he was competent enough to stand trial. Prosecutors requested a plea deal that would have offered credit for the time he had already served, allowing him to avoid further incarceration. Powell rejected the deal.

Nichols said the only witnesses that testified during the trial were the police officers who responded. He said he believes Powell is homeless and his biggest concern during cross examination was his backpack, which was taken by police when he was arrested.

“It’s kind of a funny story,” Nichols said, “But you miss what’s really going on and it’s sad.”