Fort Smith Police Reviewing Officer’s Use Of Force During Arrest

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Fort Smith police are investigating whether an officer followed the department's use of force procedures when he struck and tackled a suspect during an arrest Saturday (Oct. 20).

The suspect, Brandon Stanley, cut his head while police tried to take him into custody. He was treated at Sparks Hospital and declined to file a complaint against the officer.

"Despite Stanley’s refusal and his apologies, investigators with the Fort Smith Police Department referred the case to the officer’s chain of command for an internal review to determine if the actions taken were necessary," said Aric Mitchell, a Fort Smith Police Department spokesman.

Mitchell said police learned Randi Harris, a woman inside the apartment, recorded part of the arrest and posted a snippet of the video to social media.

Mitchell said he the department released the officer's arrest report "in the interests of transparency and our commitment to proper protocols."

Harris criticized the officer for the incident and said he should be held accountable.

"I want everybody to know they are bulldogs with badges," Harris said Monday (Oct. 22).

"I have no problem with cops. I have family that's cops. Those are not cops. They're bulldogs with badges, and they need them removed. They need to pay for what they did."

State law allows police to threaten or use non-deadly physical force when an officer believes it is necessary for an arrest, to prevent a suspect's escape or in self-defense. The department's use of force policy matches what's outlined in state law.

Police were called around 3 p.m. to a home on Stanard Avenue, where a caller reported her husband was killing their child, according to a news release.

Police arrived and found Stanley, 27, holding an uninjured child. Stanley told police his wife was in the duplex, but he refused to let the officer inside, according to the arrest report.

The officer said he forced his way into the apartment and asked Stanley to give his wife the child. Stanley at first refused but then relented. The officer went to place Stanley in handcuffs, but he tried to slip away and swung his arms at the officer, according to the report.

The officer said he tackled Stanley and told him to give him his arms, but Stanley kept swinging his arms.

The officer said he "was then forced to deliver strikes with my fist to his body, as well as his face," according to the report.

Another officer arrived and helped get Stanley into custody, but he refused to get up. The officer said he picked up Stanley to take him outside but tripped, and the pair fell over.

The officer said he tried to keep Stanley from falling on him, so he turned over. Stanley said he cut his head on a metal bed frame during the fall, according to the report.

The officer said he smelled marijuana emitting from Stanley, who admitted he had a glass pipe in his pants.

Stanley was arrested in connection with possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental operations and contempt.

He was being held Monday at the Sebastian County Detention Center on a $3,465 bond.