A Smithfield man will spend up to 15-1/2 years in prison after being convicted of seriously injuring a police officer.
In October 2014, Smithfield Police Officer Sean Cook responded to a suspicious person call on Kay Drive off South Brightleaf Boulevard. Officer Cook encountered Mark Burwell of Galilee Road, Smithfield at the scene. He was “extremely intoxicated” police said. Cook attempted to take Burwell, 42, into custody to be held at the county jail until he was sober but resisted.
As the officer tried to place handcuffs on Burwell he struck the policeman in the face with a closed fist and bit him on the arm. Officer Cook tasered the suspect with no effect. Others officers arriving on the scene assisted in taking Burwell into custody.
Burwell, a habitual felon, was charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer inflicting serious injury. He was found guilty by a jury. Superior Court Judge Walter Godwin sentenced Burwell to 146 to 188 months in prison. District Attorney Susan Doyle said, “The District Attorney’s Office takes assaults on law enforcement officer cases very seriously. These officers who are sworn to serve and protect should not be subjected to abuse just because they are doing their job.”