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Man accused of beating JSO officer pleads not guilty; community helps fundraise for her recovery

Angie's Subs in Jacksonville Beach is holding a fundraiser all month long for the officer injured during the encounter.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The man accused of beating a Jacksonville officer outside a Walmart store has pleaded not guilty to all charges on Friday.

Joseph Merrill has been charged with attempted murder, depriving an officer of means of communication, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and resisting an officer with violence.

Angie's Subs is holding a fundraiser all month long for the officer injured during the encounter.

You can order an Officer Jenny Sub which comes with "yer choice" of bread, turkey, provolone, mushrooms, spicy mayo and coleslaw, for $11.

Owner Ed Malin says $3 will be donated to her recovery efforts.

"The police officers in our community, I think for the past few years... they've kinda taken on a bad rap you know," explains Malin. "And they're out there every day, put on a bulletproof vest, they get paid meagerly, they put on a gun, and they put themselves in harm's way for the community. And I think they deserve more of a pat on the back and more of a thanks from the community than they get."

(Malin says you can also order any sub on the menu and still have the cashier 'hit the Officer Jenny button' to make a donation)

In February, Lynn responded to the Walmart on Phillips Highway in reference to a theft suspect. Police say she observed him walking away from the area and approached him.

As they were speaking, JSO says Merrill hit her in the face and knocked her to the ground. Merill then got on top of her and hit her until a second officer approached, according to JSO. 

Merill then attempted to run off but was arrested after a short pursuit. When he ran off, he dropped a blue duffle bag with stolen merchandise on the side of the roadway, police said. 

The merchandise was worth $176.45, according to the incident report. 

JSO says the officer was rushed to the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

She spent two days in the hospital and was released from the hospital with fanfare.

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