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Ashland police looking for man who punched officer in the face

ASHLAND — Ashland police are asking for the public's help in finding a man they say punched an officer in the face and attacked him with a flashlight last week.

The incident happened about 9 p.m. Friday in Lithia Park. Ashland police Chief Tighe O'Meara said an officer noted a smell of marijuana coming from a man sitting on a bench who was holding what looked like a lit cigarette. When the officer asked the man's name, the man refused to give it and got up to leave.

"The officer tried to physically keep him at the scene. The man resisted and punched the officer, grabbed the flashlight," O'Meara said. "They struggled over the flashlight."

The man broke away with the flashlight, then began to walk off before turning around again, holding the flashlight. He also reportedly pulled another unidentified object from his waistband. The officer fired a stun gun, which stopped the man's charge, but police reported he was able to rip off the deployed probes and run away.

O'Meara said the officer didn't suffer any serious injuries.

"It was a pretty tense situation and it could have gone in a very bad direction," O'Meara said.

Police are circulating a grainy picture of the man, but could not provide a basic description. Anyone who knows his identity is asked to contact Ashland police at 541-482-5211, or call the anonymous tip line at 541-552-2333 or email the department at tipline@ashland.or.us.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

Ashland police looking for man who punched officer in the face