Lawsuit: Cops Unlawfully Entered Home, Tasered Man In Front Of Children

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PRAIRIE GROVE (KFSM) – A Prairie Grove family is suing the city after calling 911 on officers they say unlawfully entered their home and shocked a man inside with a Taser in front of his children.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 30 in U.S. District Court of Western Arkansas by Pendarvis and Joy Williams, two Prairie Grove residents who say Officer Travis Stills and Office Stephanie Baugher broke the law while entering their house without permission and forcefully subduing Pendarvis Williams with a Taser.

(Viewers can watch a police video of the incident above.)

The federal complaint states on or around Jan. 30, 2014, the officers responded to the plaintiffs’ home on Col. Salomon Drive in Prairie Grove in reference to a welfare concern call from a neighbor. The officers knocked on the home’s door and asked for Joy Williams.

According to the complaint, Pendarvis Williams answered the door and told Stills and Baugher that Joy Williams was home, but she was not feeling well. The officers asked to actually see Joy Williams. Pendarvis Williams disappeared and came back to the front door, explaining again Joy Williams said she was not feeling well, the federal complaint states.

The officers asked again to see the woman and asked to come in, to which the husband responded, “O.K. Hold on,” the lawsuit states. The officers then entered the home and went to the couple’s bedroom doorway, according to the lawsuit.

Joy Williams told the officers she did not want to come out because she was not feeling well. She and her husband also told the officers the woman did not have a protection order filed against Pendarvis Williams, in response to a question asked by the officers, the lawsuit states.

The suit states the family became agitated that the officers would not leave. Pendarvis Williams said he was going to call his attorney, and his wife called 911 to report the officers.

A citation report filed with Prairie Grove District Court states Williams would not clarify his name to officers when asked. He then yelled, “I’m not going to jail for domestic violence,” according to the report.

While police questioned Williams on a couch, Williams became agitated, got up and went quickly into a bedroom. The report states the officers did not know Williams’ intentions and were concerned for everyone’s safety. Stills tried to follow Williams into the bedroom, but was blocked by Williams’ wife.

The officer ordered Williams three times to exit the room, then pushed his way past Williams’ wife and told Williams to turn around and put his hands behind his back, the report states.  When Stills reached for Williams’ arm, the suspect pulled away and said, “Don’t touch me or else, man,” according to the report.

After Williams did not comply with further commands, Stills forced the suspect up against a wall and shocked him with a Taser repeatedly, according to the citation report. The lawsuit states one of the man’s children tried to intervene at this time, and Williams’ wife was screaming for officers to stop.

The citation report states Williams continued to resist arrest and continued to get shocked with a Taser. During this time, Joy Williams was on the phone with 911 telling them the officers had no legal right to enter or stay in the home, and that they had shocked her husband with a Taser for no reason, according to the lawsuit.

The officers placed Pendarvis Williams in a patrol car, cited him on suspicion of misdemeanor resisting arrest and second-degree assault and released him, according to the lawsuit.

The officers shortly afterward heard back from dispatch that a protection order between the Williams had expired in November 2013.

“Officer Stills explained to Mr. Williams that if he would have remained calm, we could have checked and found that the Order of Protection was expired,” Baugher states in her explanation of events. “Mr. Williams stated that he should have listened.

The Williams family contend several of their constitutional rights were violated during the incident. Their lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, along with medical expenses and court costs.

Summons were issued Jan. 30 for Stills, Baugher and Carl Dorman, the then-Prairie Grove chief of police, according to court records.

Prairie Grove Police Chief Chris Workman declined to comment on Tuesday (Feb. 3), saying the city attorney had not seen the lawsuit. The two officers are still with the department and have not been suspended or placed on leave, the chief said.

18 comments

  • Looking for a thoughtful response from Officers?

    …..and is it against the law to refuse to open your door? Just because someone calls in a welfare check should not mean officers are allowed to cross the threshold. I think when the lady called 911, she was declaring her rights. Imagine having to call 911 on police officers?

    • Sean

      Happens everyday. Law enforcement loves hiring ex-military I guess the idea being they understand and are used to structure and discipline. With multiple wars dragging on over a decade police agencies have an ample supply of viable candidates to choose from.

      Problem is ex-military means they were trained to be in a war zone fighting the Taliban, not break up domestic disturbances in Pea Ridge, and in many cases you see normal people calling for help who end up tasered on the ground like an enemy combatant.

  • Rob

    Don’t believe everything you read! Also, 5NEWS double check your research Carl Dorman is no longer chief of police and hasn’t been for 10 months. Again, don’t believe everything you read, Officer Stills is an outstanding police officer!

    • Oscar

      I’m so glad someone can see the bull on 5 news! Carl hasn’t been the chief in some time now. Lol, funny thing how the news cam twist and turn the real truth!

  • Mel

    The article says the incident happened in Jan. 2014. This happened more than a year ago, so I guess Mr. Dorman was the the chief at the time.

    • Sean

      Hard to fault Oscar and Rob on this one. I mean one would have to a) read the entire article then b) google the relevant info pertaining the relevant time period and then c) understand what they just read.

      Three step processes can be a bit too much to overcome for the average Ch 5 commenter but not you, good job Mel.

  • jriley

    That officer baughman or whatever her name is, is crooked. They had no probable cause to ask to enter. They have to see signs of a physical

  • Michael G Brotherton

    Seem’s to me a level headed cop could have chosen to back off and confirm the Order of Protection, or lack thereof. You could tell the Police were hesitant to use force, gotta wonder why. As I see it in this particular situation, the police are at fault for escalating the situation. Hopefully the lawsuit, whatever the outcome serves as a reminder to the police who they work for.

  • Use a little common sense.

    All the person had to do was remain calm and answer a couple of questions and the officers would have left. But instead he chose to start getting violent before they could confirm that the protection order had expired. Since he had a protection order in the first place leads me to believe that domestic violence has been an issue with this person in the past. I think 5News should have done a little background on this before throwing a story out here like this.

    • Sarah 4.0

      Yes. A little common sense? I guess that is how all the black people keep dying senseless deaths.
      The police should have verified the information before entering the threshold of a private citizen’s home. As for “WHO CARES” you are an embarrassment to the human race.

      • Use a little common sense.

        If you watched the video they asked the person his name. So they weren’t for sure until they heard the name that it was him. So it would be hard to confirm this without knowing who he was before they entered the residence.

      • Sarah 4.0

        I did view the video. The officers did NOT have permission to enter. When they unlawfully entered, the lady of the home was calling police. The failure was entering the home and 911 not contacting the officers to cease and desist.

  • The Right Thing

    Anyone else think the officers did the right thing? I do! They did their job. Approached nicely, asked to put his hands behind his back several times without being forceful and all they got back was rejection and yelling. I’m so sure she wasn’t “feeling good” either. PGPD did their job. Maybe the guy should’ve corporated and none of that would’ve happened.

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