An assault charge against a former Marine Corps sergeant major, stemming from a hat worn by a protester outside Parris Island's main gate, was dropped last week, his attorney said Tuesday.
Paul Archie, 44, was charged with third-degree assault and battery after a June 5 altercation with Ethan Arguello near the entrance to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. The charge was dropped Friday at a pretrial hearing in Port Royal, according to attorney Jeffrey Stephens.
Archie, a former Parris Island drill instructor, was accused of knocking an instructor's "campaign cover" off Arguello's head. Arguello was protesting the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban prisoners when Archie confronted him for wearing the drill instructor hat.
The sergeant major had asked Arguello before the day of the incident not to wear the hat while protesting. When Archie saw Arguello wearing the hat, he stopped his Jeep and the two began to argue.
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Video of the confrontation seemed to show the two men touching heads, causing Arguello's hat to fall. Archie grabbed the hat, got into his Jeep and drove away toward Parris Island.
Archie was charged with assault June 6 and resigned his position the following week. He officially retired from the Marine Corps on Sept. 30, according to a news release from Triumph Business Communications, which previously sent out a statement on Archie's behalf.
Stephens said the charge was dropped because of a lack of evidence that Archie meant to hurt Arguello.
Port Royal municipal prosecutor Tabor Vaux agreed, and the charge was dropped, Stephens said. Archie's trial was scheduled to start Monday.
Attempts to reach Archie for comment were unsuccessful.
Arguello was informed that Archie's lawyer intended to file a motion to dismiss his charges, but Arguello did not attend Friday's hearing, Stephens said. Arguello had previously told the Marine Corps Times he intended to withdraw the charge against Archie, but he never indicated that to attorneys or law enforcement, Stephens said.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.