ST. CLAIRSVILLE - A Belmont County grand jury indicted Commissioner Matthew D. Coffland on one charge of assaulting a peace officer, and he faces arraignment in Belmont County Common Pleas Court today.
Special Prosecutor Thomas Hampton said Coffland was indicted by a grand jury on Aug. 1 and is scheduled to appear in the courtroom of Belmont County Common Pleas Court Judge Jennifer Sargus at 11 a.m. today.
"The charge is one count of assault against a peace officer - a felony of the fourth degree," Hampton said. "Mr. Coffland has been served with a copy of the indictment. A warrant was not issued, and he was not arrested on this indictment. He remains free on bond."
Hampton expects to continue as special prosecutor in the case, and Monroe County Judge James Peters has served as visiting judge overseeing legal matters pertaining to Coffland. Coffland is being represented by Wheeling attorney Patrick Cassidy.
Charges filed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the enforcement arm for the Ohio Bureau of Liquor Control, state that on July 26 Coffland threw a full "can or bottle" containing an "unknown fluid" at a liquor control agent while at the Jamboree In The Hills venue near Morristown. The bottle struck the agent in the head, and the liquid splashed other agents, according to the citation.
Coffland was charged with assault on a peace officer and disorderly conduct while intoxicated. Coffland posted $5,000 bond on the assault offense and $175 on the disorderly conduct charge before being released.
Liquor control agents previously had filed unrelated legal action against Coffland, 54, and his son, Matthew B. Coffland, 29, resulting from incidents at the family's Tiger Pub bar in Shadyside last spring.
The elder Coffland has said agents entered the bar just before 2 a.m. April 1 and began asking patrons for identification. He said he announced to patrons that liquor control agents were present, and that he was closing the bar before the normal 2:20 a.m. time.
Agents charged the Cofflands each with three offenses: knowingly or recklessly hindering or obstructing an agent or employee of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control; knowingly - with purpose to hinder the discovery, apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another for a crime - warning other persons of impending discovery or apprehension; and knowingly and without privilege - with the purpose to prevent, obstruct or delay the performance by a public official of an authorized act - performing an act that hampered or impeded a public official in the performance of the public official's duties.