Region 8 Man Accuses Paragould Police of Descrimination - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Paragould, AR--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

Region 8 Man Accuses Paragould Police of Descrimination

June 6, 2005--Posted at 7:30 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD-- A region eight man makes allegations of discrimination against the Paragould Police department.

Danny Smith of Paragould says he was falsely accused and mistreated by the department.

Smith says since he moved to Paragould, just five months ago, the Paragould police have constantly patrolled his neighborhood and accused him of wrongdoing.

He says he believes the department has targeted him and more specifically, his race .

Smith says the situation escalated when he was accused of public intoxication.

"He was going East bound on 412 in the inside lane riding a bicycle, appeared to be very wobbly," Paragould Police Chief J.D. Stephenson says.

"The police ran an inner state check on me. It was apparently kinda weird to see a black guy riding through Paragould on a 12 speed. So, after they ran an inner state check, they came up with nothing," Danny Smith says.

Although his record was clear, police say smith was obviously intoxicated.

"Officers at the department have been trained in how to detect when someone is intoxicated or been drinking," Chief Stephenson says.

"They threw my bike into the back of the squad car, took me to my house, made sure my key fit my door and told me don't come back out on the street that night," Smith says.

Stephenson says police gave smith a chance to go home and sober up, but Smith says he was not drunk and had every right to go back outside, and he did ....

When police spotted him, Smith was arrested.

"They put their handcuffs on me so tight, my left hand is still numb from all that pressure. When we got to the police station, they didn't even help me out of the squad car," Smith says.

"We don't discriminate against anyone because of religion, race or what have you. We have strict policies against that, and we don't do it," Stephenson says.

He says the department accepts complaints to avoid any unnecessary behavior, but in this case, Smith never contacted the department.

But today Smith makes his message very clear....

"I come down here fully qualified to be an outstanding member of any community. I choose this one to live in so when I walk down the street, I want to be treated like anyone else," Smith says.

Smith had a court appearance at 1:30 today. He plead guilty to the charges against him.

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