ASP: Jonesboro police recruit’s death a ‘criminal investigation’
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – The death of a Jonesboro police recruit who died at the state police training academy is now a “criminal investigation,” according to Arkansas State Police.
Officer Vincent “Vinny” Parks died on July 17 while attending the Central Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.
At the time of Parks’ death, Arkansas State Police said Parks started showing signs of “medical distress” when he and other JPD officers arrived that Sunday afternoon for training.
But that information has been questioned by lawmakers and Police Chief Rick Elliott, who said they believe Parks and other recruits underwent physical training prior to Parks’ death.
Arkansas State Police spokesperson Bill Sadler told Region 8 News on Tuesday evening that the death became a criminal investigation after it learned new facts that were “contrary” to original statements.
In a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Sadler said that “the review was re-categorized as a criminal investigation based on statements contrary to the initial facts provided to Secretary Cook and subsequently provided to me.”
The statement came after the newspaper sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Arkansas State Police and Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office requesting information regarding Parks’ death.
In documents obtained by the newspaper, the Department of Public Safety Director Jami Cook sent a text message shortly after Parks’ death which said, “Parks ‘fell out’ after jogging to and from his car and engaging in four minutes of calisthenics.”
Parks joined JPD in June. His death occurred on the first day of the academy. JPD pulled four other recruits sent to Camp Robinson from the academy following his death and will now undergo training at Black River Technical College.
The Jonesboro Police Department Public Information Office was unable to provide a statement regarding the ASP classification after hours Tuesday.
Parks was buried at on July 22 at Jonesboro Memorial Park Cemetery. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
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