A Missouri man faces up to 15 years in prison for assault after a police officer broke his hand when he punched him in the face.

Officer Trevor Spencer was injured as he defended himself in a fight with Matthew Calhoun, according to reports.

Calhoun, a 48-year-old probation offender, is accused of starting a fight with the cop when he tried to arrest him during a stop in Branson, Missouri, in December.

A preliminary court hearing this week heard Calhoun was pulled over in a convenience store car park for speeding, and when the officer pulled his records it showed he was wanted for violating probation in a drugs case.

During the pair’s struggle the officer, who works for the Ozark Police Department, said he had to punch Calhoun “two or three times” in the face, breaking his hand in the process.

Calhoun was eventually taken into custody with the use of a Taser.

His lawyer said the charges were “ridiculous and absurd.”

“Are we supposed to feel sorry for Officer Spencer because he broke his hand on my client’s face?” said Stacie Bilyeu, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

Christian County assistant prosecutor Janette Bleau told the court that Calhoun’s aggressive behavior put the officer in a position where he had to defend himself and suffer the injury.

The case was moved to a trial court.

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