AR officer suspended over video showing him using excessive force on resident

(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Apr. 11, 2019 at 10:13 PM CDT
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FORREST CITY, AR (WMC) - An Arkansas police officer is off the job after cell phone video backs up complaints of excessive force.

Forrest City Police officer Lieutenant Darren Smith is suspended after a physical altercation this week.

Some citizens said this isn't the first time he’s gone too far.

Forrest City Police say they are currently conducting a thorough investigation into this altercation. WMC Action News 5 found several pieces of video to help tell the complete story of what happened that afternoon.

Tuesday evening, Forrest City Police officer Lieutenant Darren Smith had a confrontation with Arsenio Clinton.

Arkansas state police executed a search warrant of his home. Clinton says police were looking for a murder suspect, although police would not confirm that.

But after about 20 minutes Clinton says officers were leaving, but home surveillance footage shows Lt. Smith's vehicle abruptly stop

‘Officer Smith looking at me we made eye contact as we made eye contact, he slammed on his brakes and got out the car and used profanity,” Clinton said.

That's when the altercation happened.

“I was surprised he put his hands on me,” Clinton said.

Akira Norris witnessed the incident.

“I know Smith,” Norris said. “He dangerous with that gun. He dangerous with that gun. I struck out. Left my kids and everything.”

It's ironic Norris was at this incident involving Lt. Smith, considering two years ago Norris had his own encounter with the Forrest City Police officer.

Lt. Smith was off-duty when he pulled a gun on Norris for allegedly shoplifting at a local Wal-Mart in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

“He gone hurt somebody,” Norris said.

Lt. Smith is currently off the force, suspended with pay while Forrest City Police investigate.

“People will say this guy is dangerous to the community what do you say to these folks?” WMC5 asked Forrest City Police Chief Deon Lee.

“I say a small percentage of people who feel that way,” Chief Lee said.

Chief Lee says Smith is a good officer but admits the video doesn't show the professionalism he requires.

“There's some things in the video that I don't quite agree with, but there's always more than one side to the story,” Chief Lee said.

Chief Lee says he has also seen multiple videos of the incident, but he could not discuss in detail due to the investigation.

WMC5 was also informed of other complaints made against Lt. Smith, but Chief Lee would not comment on that either.

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