Employees with Gutter Pro Seamless Gutters in Clarksville claim Bella Vista police used excessive force during a traffic stop Tuesday night. A teenage employee says officers pointed a gun at his head. The department says the allegations are not true.
“When he came to put the cuffs on me, it came like this close to my face,” said Aaron Moneypenny.
Moneypenny says Bella Vista police pulled guns on him and his nephews Tuesday night during a traffic stop. “I was scared for my life. I thought one of us was gonna get shot, guns at our face. I was so scared,” said 16-year-old Tyler Underwood, an employee.
Bella Vista police says they stopped the van and the passengers were not wearing seat belts. When they ran the tag officers say the van came back stolen. “A mistake was made and the wrong tag number was run inadvertently,” said Bella Vista Police Chief Ken Farmer.
The van was not stolen. Farmer says the dispatcher made a mistake.
Dash camera video shows an officer pull out his gun, but the video does not show him point it at anyone. “It was out of the holster, but pointed down not pointed directly at anyone,” said Farmer.
Moneypenny says they have already contacted an attorney. They plan to file a formal complaint with the city, the police department, and the prosecuting attorney next week.
“We shouldn’t be out in the middle of the highway on our knees with guns pointed at us for no reason,” said Underwood.
Farmer says the traffic stop took approximately 20 minutes. He reviewed the dash camera video. “There are times that the officers are off camera, but you know you can tell by their actions on camera that they were not being excessive I don't think,” said Farmer.
Bella Vista police tell 5NEWS the van had the wrong tag on it, one of the passengers did not have a seat, and they did not have insurance. Moneypenny showed us his insurance Wednesday afternoon.
Bella Vista police say they gave the guys verbal warnings and let them go.