Former cop arrested after allegedly choking man during Easter service at church

SOUTH CENTRE TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WNEP) -- A former Berwick police officer is accused of attacking another man at a church in Columbia County.

South Centre Township police say Jimmie Hill, 33, of Benton, choked a man Sunday morning as church let out after an Easter service.

Hill is facing charges of strangulation, assault, and harassment for an altercation that took place inside the Lime Ridge Methodist Church near Bloomsburg.

South Centre Township police were called to the church around 11:45 a.m. after it was reported that Hill had choked a man as an Easter service was letting out.

Former cop accused of choking man at church on Easter
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Former cop accused of choking man at church on Easter
(Photo: WNEP)
(Photo: WNEP)
(Photo: WNEP)

Brandon and Ashley Welsh live next door.

“I don't agree with it, especially at church, especially on Easter,” laughed Ashley. “It's really shocking to me.”

“Yeah, that's weird. That's weird. I wouldn't believe that,” laughed Brandon.

Court papers show that as people were leaving the church when the service ended, Hill began yelling at a woman, saying one of her family members was a pedophile.

Police say Hill would not back down even though the woman tried to ignore him. Hill eventually got into her face, screaming obscenities.

“That's not the place to get engaged with any conversation like that,” said Linda Densberger of Nescopeck. “If he had something to say, there was a better place to say it or he should have just kept his mouth shut.”

When the woman's brother-in-law tried to intervene, police say Hill grabbed his neck and choked him. The man shoved Hill off him and cops were called.

This isn't the first time Hill had trouble with the law. In October of 2012, Hill had to resign his job as a Berwick police officer after he was accused of giving a 19-year-old woman alcohol.

At Hill's home in Benton, he refused to talk with Newswatch 16.

“Definitely lock him up,” said Ed Loomis of Bloomsburg after hearing Hill was a cop. “Yeah, put him in jail. They'll take care of him.”

It's not stated in the court papers how or if Jimmie Hill knew the woman he reportedly yelled at.

Hill's next court appearance is April 11.

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