Crime & Courts

Former county commissioner arrested on suspicion of assaulting cop after Metallica concert

Heavy metal band Metallica rocks out Wichita

Heavy metal band Metallica performed at Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita to a sold-out crowd on Monday. (March 4, 2019)
Up Next
Heavy metal band Metallica performed at Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita to a sold-out crowd on Monday. (March 4, 2019)

Former Sedgwick County Commissioner and ex-Wichita City Council member Jim Skelton was arrested early Tuesday at the QuikTrip at Douglas and Washington after becoming disgruntled with a clerk and a police officer.

Skelton, 50, was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of assaulting a law enforcement officer and interfering with law enforcement, according to jail booking and police arrest records. Both crimes are misdemeanors. Wichita police spokesman Officer Charley Davidson said the investigation is still active and will be presented to city prosecutors for possible charging.

Davidson, in a written statement, said Skelton became disgruntled at QuikTrip, 1010 E. Douglas, after he’d been left at Monday’s Metallica concert at Intrust Bank Arena without a ride home. An off-duty officer working in the downtown area found out Skelton was alone and took him to the convenience store “so he could stay warm and arrange a ride home,” the police statement said.

But at about 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, someone at the QuikTrip contacted two on-duty Wichita police officers working at a nearby traffic crash to complain about “an apparent intoxicated person” — later identified as Skelton — who was inside the convenience store “yelling at the clerk, swearing and demanding a ride home,” the police statement said. One of the officers went into the store to talk to Skelton but Skelton “was belligerent with the officer.”

“The officer offered multiple times to provide assistance in calling a cab for Skelton who was wanting a ride home. Skelton refused and demanded a ride from the officer,” the statement said. “Skelton became visibly angry, approached the officer and the officer had to push Skelton away from him.”

He was arrested without any further problems and jailed early Tuesday morning. He has since been released.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Skelton said his attorney advised him not to comment immediately on the case. “I feel like I was wrongly arrested,” he added.

Skelton served six years on the Wichita City Council and four years on the Sedgwick County Commission before deciding not to seek re-election due to a health issue in 2014. Last year he unsuccessfully challenged his successor, sitting commissioner Republican Jim Howell, in an attempt to win back his old commission seat.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.