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3:00 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

Man gets 14 years in cop assault case

Jack Richard Cline

Jack Richard Cline

PRESCOTT - A man who pleaded guilty to striking a police officer in the head with a gun, along with several other charges, was sentenced to 14 years in prison Tuesday afternoon.

Jack Richard Cline, 30, was arrested in June after he admitted to hitting the officer while being taken into custody on a disorderly conduct charge.

Prescott Valley Police Officer Gerald McNally was among several officers who responded to the call at about 2 a.m. near Robert and Valley roads in Prescott Valley. McNally spotted Cline and chased him down on foot; Cline struck McNally with the gun while he was being arrested.

In a previous court appearance, Cline said it was an accident. "As I was being tackled, I swung my arms and hit him with the gun," he said.

He was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, to which he pleaded guilty.

Cline had a prior felony conviction, which made him ineligible to possess weapons, but he admitted to having two guns.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of misconduct with weapons by a prohibited possessor, two counts of theft of a firearm, two counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary.

For those charges, Cline could have faced as long as 35 years in prison.

In court Tuesday, an emotional McNally spoke to Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley, telling her that he was in fear for his life, seeing the gun come up, pointed at him.

"This experience gave me a new perspective on things because of my wife. We (police officers) recognize there's a lot of danger in this job, but I would ask for the 14 years (sentence), not for us, but to send a message to Mr. Cline and all others who may offend in the future," he said.

"I ask this not for me, but for my fellow officers and their spouses."

As he spoke, Cline teared up.

When it was his turn to speak, Cline broke down, telling McNally, "I would like to apologize to Officer McNally and his family. I wasn't trying to hurt him that night. I wanted to drop the gun and give up," he said, sobbing.

"I just got diagnosed with being bipolar and having mental issues," he continued. "I didn't know that before. I just want to get help."

Ainley imposed 14 years total prison time, with credit for just over a year served, four years probation, and 100 hours of community service.

"Mr. Cline, I will tell you that if it weren't for the probation time to help you with the mental issues, I would be imposing a lot more time," Ainley said.