Gainesville man behind bars after hitting police officer

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- A man is in jail after Gainesville Police say he hit an officer when he was confronted for stealing from a northeast Gainesville Walmart.

According to GPD, Jermaine Thomas, 33, was approached at the Rose Food Store on Friday afternoon around 2:00 p.m. Thomas matched the description of a man who had stolen from the Walmart on N.E. 12th Ave.

When Thomas was asked to stop and talk to officers, he began to walk away. According to an arrest report, the GPD officer grabbed Thomas who then began punching the officer repeatedly.

The officer had lacerations on his forehead, ear and knee from the altercation.

Thomas admitted to shoplifting and is being charged with battery of an officer and petty theft.

Thomas is in the Alachua County Jail on an $80,000 bond.