Man Who Spat On Cop Found Guilty


An intoxicated Tonto Basin man who spit on a Payson police officer was found guilty of aggravated assault Oct. 8.

Charles Emmitt Gibbons spit on Officer Michael J. Varga, while being helped out of the back seat of a patrol car, according to the Gila County Attorney’s Office.

Varga had arrested Gibbons on disorderly conduct and domestic violence for a previous incident in the day. The spit offense occurred shortly after Gibbons was brought to the Sheriff’s Office for processing.

A trial was held at the Gila County Courthouse in Globe. After less than an hour of deliberation, the jury returned a guilty verdict.

“Unfortunately, being spit on is one of the negative aspects our police officers have to occasionally deal with while protecting our community,” said Chief Deputy County Attorney Patti Wortman. “Officer Michael Varga stayed calm while dealing with a very belligerent, drunk suspect and I applaud him for it.”

Sentencing is set for Nov. 10, with Judge Peter Cahill of the Gila County Superior Court in Payson.

Gibbons faces a sentence ranging from probation to one year in the Arizona Department of Corrections.


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