An assault charge has been dismissed against a former sergeant major at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island.
44-year-old Sgt. Maj. Paul Archie resigned his post and later retired from the Marines after he was charged with third-degree assault and battery following a June 5 incident outside the depot. During the incident, which was caught on film, Archie confronted a protester at the base gate. The video showed Archie and the retired Marine protestor Ethan Arguello going nose to nose in argument before a frustrated Archie grabs Arguello’s drill instructor hat (which Marines call a “campaign cover”), gets into his vehicle, and drives off. A Port Royal police officer can also be seen trying to intervene during the confrontation.
Arguello, a retired Marine drill instructor, had been protesting President Obama’s decision to exchange five high-ranking Taliban members in exchange for the safe return of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. According to reports at the time, Archie had previously asked Arguello to remove his drill instructor cover while protesting.
The website Triumph Business Communications reported Tuesday that the charges against Archie have been dismissed, with a Port Royal municipal judge agreeing with Archie’s attorneys on October 10 that the incident did not meet the definition of assault.
“I truly believe that all defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence from the beginning and am very disappointed that SgtMaj Archie did not receive that consideration from the Marine Corps, instead getting relieved prematurely,” Archie’s attorney Nick Stephens said, according to the release. “He is now vindicated.”
The Marine Corps had said at the time that Archie’s retirement was voluntary. “Understanding the Marine Corps has very high standards of personal and professional conduct for its most senior leaders, Sgt. Maj. Archie voluntarily stepped down as the depot sergeant major, and the commanding general regrettably accepted his retirement,” the statement said.
However, Archie said his superiors made it clear that he would be relieved from his duties if he did not resign. He officially retired from the service on September 30.
According to the Marine Corps Times, Arguello had said earlier this year that he would not pursue the charges.