On Oct. 9, it took a Rockwall County jury less than two hours to convict Bryan Michael Baum of retaliation and harassment of a public servant.
Following the verdicts, the jury sentenced the previously-convicted felon to 20 years in prison, the maximum for each offense.
On Feb. 4, Rockwall Police Department Officer Benton Brumit Jr. responded to a call at the Harbor District for a car alarm sounding repeatedly. Brumit encountered Baum and after a brief investigation found him to be highly intoxicated. Baum was arrested for public intoxication. While being transported to the Rockwall County Detention Center, Baum made threats against Officer Brumit, including numerous threats to kill him.
Baum was so combative, according to the officers, that upon arriving at the Rockwall County Detention Center, he had to be placed in a restraint chair for his and the officers’ safety. While being wheeled back into the jail, Baum spit on two detention officers.
Both retaliation and harassment of a public servant are third-degree felonies.
However, based upon Baum’s criminal history, the offenses were enhanced to second-degree felonies, each carrying a range of punishment of two to 20 years imprisonment.
“The legislature made these offenses felonies to ensure that law enforcement would be able to safely carry out their duty to protect the public without threat of harm or retaliation,” lead prosecutor Damita Sangermano said.
Alex Imgrund, who assisted in the prosecution of the case, lauded the jury’s decision. “The jury’s verdict supports the law that threats and harassment are not part of an officer’s job description,” Imgrund said.