CANASTOTA, NY (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Canastota Police Department reports that a man has been charged with multiple felonies and an officer required surgery after being assaulted during an incident that took place in the Village of Canastota on September 7th.

Around 2:12 pm on Wednesday, officers received reports of a suspicious person in the Liberty Resources parking lot on North Main Street. On the scene, they found a man, who would later be identified as 25-year-old Richard Branch, Jr. of Canastota, acting in a “disorderly manner.”

The responding officer then attempted to speak with Branch. But when he approached, Branch allegedly attacked without provocation and repeatedly punched the officer in the face and head. Backup was then called in and a Madison County Sherriff’s Deputy arrived on the scene to assist. To gain control of the situation, the assisting deputy then deployed a stun gun on Branch and detained him until further additional officers arrived on the scene.

The original responding officer, William Preuss (“price”) was injured during the initial fight and was transported to a local area hospital on Wednesday, September 7th, to undergo surgery on his eye. He is expected to be released from the hospital on Thursday, September 8th.

Richard Branch, Jr. of Canastota has been arrested and charged with the following:

  • Felony assault of a police officer in the First Degree
  • Two counts of robbery
  • Criminal possession of a weapon
  • Menacing
  • Attempted assault with intent to cause injury
  • Reckless endangerment

After being evaluated and treated at the Oneida Health Hospital, Branch was taken to the Madison County Jail where he is currently being held on a $50,000 cash or $125,000 bond.

Police say the investigation is still ongoing and that if anyone has any information or surveillance video of the incident, to call the Canastota Police at 315-697-2240. You can also make an anonymous tip at the Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers website, by calling 1-866-730-8477 (TIPS), at, or by using the P3 Tips mobile app.