Friday, July 22, 2016

Blytheville attorney files civil rights lawsuit over police taser incident

Posted By on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 10:53 AM


UPDATE:
Video footage above. The officer uses his taser at the 2:05 mark.

James Harris, a Blytheville attorney, has filed a lawsuit against the City of Blytheville, the police chief, and a police officer, alleging excessive force by the police against Chardrick Mitchell on July 4. 

From a press release from Harris: 

Video evidence from the officer’s body camera revealed that Mitchell refused to let his girlfriend inside his home to retrieve belongings. The officer told Mitchell that if he did not comply, the officer would charge him with “obstruction.” Mitchell then turned around to walk toward the front door of the home, at which point the officer shot Mitchell in the back with his service taser. After Mitchell fell to the ground, the officer continued to shock him with the taser, Harris stated.

Harris said that at no point prior to deploying the taser did the officer ever tell Mitchell he was under arrest.
The officer is white; Mitchell is black.  

Full press release after the jump:
BLYTHEVILLE ATTORNEY FILES POLICE EXCESSIVE FORCE LAW SUIT

BLYTHEVILLE, ARK – Attorney James W. Harris of Blytheville has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Blytheville, the Blytheville police chief, and a Blytheville police officer for what he says was excessive force a against a man in a July 4, 2016 incident.
Harris states in the lawsuit, that on July 4, the officer, a Caucasian, responded to a call at the Blytheville home of his client, Chardrick Mitchell, an African-American. Video evidence from the officer’s body camera revealed that Mitchell refused to let his girlfriend inside his home to retrieve belongings. The officer told Mitchell that if he did not comply, the officer would charge him with “obstruction.” Mitchell then turned around to walk toward the front door of the home, at which point the officer shot Mitchell in the back with his service taser. After Mitchell fell to the ground, the officer continued to shock him with the taser, Harris stated.
Harris said that at no point prior to deploying the taser did the officer ever tell Mitchell he was under arrest. It was only after shooting Mitchell with the taser did the officer tell Mitchell that he was under arrest. The entire episode was recorded on the officer’s body camera. Harris said that the officer’s written report does not match the video evidence.
Blytheville police charged Mitchell with obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct, and refusal to submit to arrest. Harris said he looks forward to defending Mitchell on these absurd charges.
Harris said that Sigman remains active on the police force.
“I am appalled at the actions of Officer Sigman, as well by the inaction of Chief Thompson in correcting this officer’s gross misconduct,” Harris said. “There is no excuse for this officer’s actions, and with the current civil unrest that is sweeping this country, this type of action only provokes and promotes negative reaction.”

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