Man accused of aggravated assault on JSO officer pleads not guilty

Joseph Merrill prior booking photo. ( via JSO) (News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man accused of violently attacking a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer at a Walmart Supercenter pleaded not guilty Thursday to aggravated battery charges on a police officer.

Joseph Merrill, 40, was in court Thursday for arraignment. Merrill initially was charged with attempted murder but that charge was reduced to aggravated assault. He’s also charged with resisting with violence, possession of weapon by convicted felon, depriving an officer of means of communication and shoplifting.

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Merrill was arrested after he assaulted an officer who was called to the store about a reported shoplifting, JSO said. According to the arrest report, Merrill walked passed the lost-control staffer and left the store with at least $176 worth of merchandise in a duffel bag.

The officer confronted him on the sidewalk in front of the store. That’s when, police said, he knocked the officer down, started beating her, snatched her radio off her uniform, and threw it away. A detective saw the altercation and intervened.

He is being held without bond.

Merrill will appear in court again on April 6.