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Jury finds Bigfork man guilty of assaulting Whitefish officer

Hagadone News Network | December 21, 2022 1:00 AM

After deliberating for a little under an hour Tuesday, a jury found a Bigfork man accused of attacking a Whitefish Police officer in 2021 guilty of felony assault on a peace officer.

Flathead County District Judge Robert Allison remanded Paul Kermit Gysler, 40, to the custody of the Sheriff’s Office following a reading of the verdict Dec. 13. He set Gysler’s sentencing for Jan. 25.

Gysler drew the attention of law enforcement in the summer of 2021 for allegedly urinating in public. A Whitefish Police officer approached Gysler about 2:26 a.m., July 17 after spotting him peeing near the parking structure attached to City Hall, court documents said.

Gylser “was immediately agitated,” according to court documents. That prompted the officer to instruct Gysler to put his hands behind his back, but Gysler instead pushed away and tensed up, court documents said.

As Gysler allegedly failed to comply with instructions, the officer tried unsuccessfully to put him on the ground. Gysler maneuvered to topple the officer and then leveraged his body weight to hold him down, court documents said.

Using his stun gun, the officer regained control of Gysler, but not before suffering injuries to his elbow and finger, according to court documents. Officials credited a bystander with aiding the officer in court documents.

Gysler allegedly continued to struggle even as additional officers arrived to aid in the arrest, court documents said.

Deputy County Attorney Alison Howard prosecuted the case. Defense attorney Liam Gallagher represented Gysler.

Assault on a peace officer is punishable by between five and 20 years in state prison and a fine of $50,000.