Salem man charged with assault blames drinking

LISBON – A Salem man charged with assaulting a Salem police officer blamed his drinking issue and apologized to four Salem officers seated in the courtroom of Judge Mark Frost in Columbiana County Municipal Court on Monday.

“I’m not even sure what officer it was,” said Ryan M. Powell, 30, South Lane, Hanoverton. “I have a problem when I drink. It’s not the type of person I am and I just hope you accept my apology.”

Powell pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge after the felony charge of assaulting of a police officer was dismissed. He additionally pleaded no contest to resisting arrest and disorderly conduct while voluntarily intoxicated.

According to court documents, Salem police were called to Club Fuel for a request of one to be removed and Powell allegedly spit in a police officer’s face as he was being led into the police station. Powell admitted he gets out of control when he is drinking and was once sober for three years.

Frost sentenced Powell to 300 days in jail with credit for three days served. Another 180 days may be suspended provided Powell continue to keep himself under control and out of trouble. He will begin his jail sentence in March so he has time to get his affairs in order, including the care of his four children and his fiance.

“They all need you,” Frost told the defendant. “They need this Ryan Powell, not the other one.”

Powell was also ordered to attend counseling for his drinking.

Frost noted the police officers in the courtroom were being reasonable allowing the case to be pleaded down to a misdemeanor.

“These guys in blue … put their lives on the line every night and I really don’t appreciate people hassling them,” Frost added.