“A Pensacola pastor is arrested and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.
Joseph Marshall, a pastor at St. John Divine Missionary Baptist Church, is charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, a third-degree felony, after an incident that happened outside the church.
On Easter Sunday, a woman and her two children were heading to the church when they were hit by a car. As emergency personnel were tending to the victims, according to police, Marshall refused to heed multiple warnings to clear the area. Officer Mike Wood says that’s when things got physical.
“The officer put her arm out, explaining to him that he needed to stay back,” said Wood. “And he took his hands and pushed her forearm out of the way and tried to get passed her.”
A report from the Pensacola Police Department states Marshall screamed and cursed at the officer and had to be restrained by parishioners. According to the officer’s statement, he “came at her as if he was going to attack,” he was then pulled away and taken inside the church.
Later, the report states that officer’s supervisor spoke with Marshall who, again, became aggressive, yelling and cursing. He then “tried to charge the sergeant” but was restrained.
“It just doesn’t seem like him,” said Bob Voyles. “It seems out of character.”
Voyles has lived across the street from Marshall for about 20 years. He says Marshall is a perfect neighbor and was shocked to learn about his arrest on Friday and alleged actions on Easter.
“It’s just hard to comprehend that he would resort to any type of violence or cause a scene of any sort,” said Voyles.
So why did it take five days for Marshall to be put behind bars? Wood says because of the circumstances, they chose to delay the arrest.
“He’s a pastor of the church, he’s got parishioners inside waiting for him to have an Easter morning service and we knew that,” said Wood. “We know where to find him, he’s not a flight risk and it’s a situation that we chose to handle at a different time.”
Marshall only spent a few hours in jail. He’s now out on bond, so we went to the church to get his side of the story.
The woman we spoke to said Marshall was not there and she didn’t know about the arrest.
Next, we went to his house, but no one answered the door, so we called him and left a message. We’ve yet to hear back.
According to the Pensacola Police report, the confrontation between Marshall and the officers was caught on two of the officers’ body cams. We requested the footage, but were told it won’t be released until the case is closed.”