Video of rough arrest in Scott County caught on officer's body camera

  • In US
  • 2022-10-03 16:21:03Z
  • By Ft. Smith Southwest Times Record

WALDRON, Ark. - Video from a Mansfield police officer's body camera is evidence in third-degree battery cases against a Waldron police officer and Scott County Sheriff Randy Shores in connection to a February rough arrest.

Waldron officer Omar Gonzalez has resigned since the Feb. 16 arrest of a man who tried to elude police and was struck several times in the head by Gonzalez, a prosecutor alleges.

Gonzalez and Shores were charged with third-degree battery in Scott County Friday and then both were booked at the Scott County Jail where they were released.

Video from police body cameras show Gonzalez violently kicking and hitting the suspect, the charges allege.

Charges allege Shores witnessed the rough arrest but did not stop it.

In February, law officers were involved in the pursuit that started in Sebastian County. They pursued a white van driven by Robert L. Deer of Van Buren south on U.S. 71. Gonzalez and other officers joined in the pursuit at the Packsaddle Community.

After Deer wrecked the van and tried to flee on foot, law officers caught up with him. During the arrest, Gonzalez placed his knee on the back of Deer's head and struck Deer in the head several times, the charge alleges.

The Arkansas State Police reviewed the video that was submitted by Waldron Police Chief Jeremy Hunt. Hunt reported that Wayne Robb of Mansfield contacted Hunt about the footage of the arrest. Video was also taken by a Huntington officer.

Hunt stated, "Robb advised that I would want to review the footage as he felt there were some concerns regarding use of force."

Hunt watched the video and contacted Mark Johnson , who is the Waldron City Attorney and the Scott County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.

"I advised Mark of what I had seen on the video and concerns that I had," Hunt reports.

Gonzalez resigned on May 2.

More:Scott County, Arkansas sheriff, Waldron police officer arrested on assault charges

Hunt said since February the Waldron Police Department has purchased body cameras and Tasers.

"We have instituted a mandatory camera policy and will also be retraining each officer in response to resistance techniques along with requiring refresher training each year on use of force," Hunt said.

Special Prosecutor Emily White has been assigned to the case.

White is also the special prosecutor assigned to the case of three Crawford County law officers who were caught on video in a separate August incident that was caught on video by a bystander. Those law officers, two Crawford County Sheriff's deputies and a Mulberry officer have not been charged.

White stated that multiple, local law enforcement agencies were involved in the arrest, which lead to the ultimate detainment and arrest of Deer.

Deer suffered physical injury as a result of the arrest, White reported.

The body camera video came from both the Huntington and Mansfield police Department. 'Beyond the parameters of this statement, the charging documents and the videos, I will refrainfrom further comment as this case progresses through the court system," White stated.

"Continued appreciation to the Arkansas State Police for their diligent support during theremainder of this open criminal investigation," White stated.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Video of rough arrest in Waldron evidence in Scott County battery case


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