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Easthampton man sentenced to 18 months in jail on assault charges



@ecutts_HG
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — An Easthampton man admitted Tuesday in court that he head-butted an Amherst police officer and spit blood in another officer’s face during a March 2016 arrest.

Albert Gyeidu, 28, also admitted fault in a separate incident nine months later, on New Year’s Eve in Easthampton, in which he punched a man in the head and then placed him in a headlock.

Gyeidu pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to 11 charges, almost all assault and battery charges, from the two incidents. Following the agreed recommendation, Judge Daniel Ford sentenced him to 18 months in jail.

A charge of intimidating a witness, which is the only felony charge that remained in the case, will be placed on file for six months “without penalty, punishment or restraint on liberty.”

That language is important because Gyeidu is a permanent legal resident but not a citizen of the U.S., his attorney Lisa Lippiello explained in court. He came with his family from Ghana in 2004.

“There is still a risk,” Lippiello said of her client’s chances of being deported because of the felony charge of intimidation of a witness.

Gyeidu was arrested Dec. 31, 2016, in the area of Ferry Street in Easthampton after punching a man in the head and then placing him in a headlock, First Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven Gagne explained in court. As police were arresting Gyeidu, he made “direct eye contact” with the man and told him that if he ran his mouth he would be in trouble, according to Gagne.

Gyeidu and Lippiello told the judge he had recently lost a very dear friend and that the victim made “very grotesque and insulting comments” that sparked the altercation.

In March of that same year, Gyeidu was arrested outside Stackers Pub in Amherst after he caused a disturbance inside the establishment and then struck two officers and spit blood at them while they were trying to place him in custody, Gagne said.

The blood Gyeidu spit hit an officer in the face and mouth, which caused the officer a “prolonged period of apprehension and concern” about potential disease transmission, Gagne said.

Lippiello told Ford that as Gyeidu heard that detail recounted in court, he said he was “so, so sorry for that.”

At the time of the December incident, Gyeidu was six days shy of completing pre-trial probation on the March incident involving the assault on the Amherst police officers.

Prior to those two incidents, Gyeidu had no criminal record.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.