Jonesboro, AR – A Jonesboro police officer was placed on administrative leave after cell phone footage showing him taking a suspect to the ground over the weekend was shared on social media (video below).
The incident occurred outside the Midnight Rodeo private club on Fair Park Boulevard at approximately 1:58 a.m. on July 10, The Jonesboro Sun reported.
Jonesboro Police Department (JPD) Officer Joseph Harris was working security at the club when two groups of people got into an argument out in the parking lot, according to the initial police report.
Several other JPD officers were also in the area when the argument erupted.
During the commotion, 21-year-old Blake Arnoult walked out of the bar and started arguing with the people outside, The Jonesboro Sun reported.
His friends told police they would take Arnoult home, but Arnoult continued to cause a scene.
“I then saw Arnoult still in the parking lot cursing at a loud volume and taking his shirt off,” Officer Harris’ report read. “Arnoult’s friends were having trouble getting him to their car. I then advised officers to place Arnoult into handcuffs.”
Cell phone footage showed a group of people yelling at the officers and demanding to know why Arnoult was being arrested.
Among them was 21-year-old Nicholas Anthony Silva, The Jonesboro Sun reported.
The officers asked the crowd to “back up” and told them that the reason for Arnoult’s arrest was not their concern.
“He’s over 18. He’s a big boy,” Officer Harris told them. “[It’s] none of your business.”
“I kept advising [Silva] that it was none of his business and he needed to walk away,” Harris wrote in his report, according to The Jonesboro Sun. “… I then informed Silva to place his hands behind his back. When I grabbed Silva, he tried to pull away from me.”
That’s when Officer Harris abruptly took the suspect to the ground, cell phone footage showed.
“Once on the ground, I ordered Silva to place his hands behind his back again. Silva again refused and stated he couldn’t because I wouldn’t let him,” Officer Harris wrote.
Silva proceeded to call the officer a “b—h -ss n—-r” as his friends told him to stay quiet, the video showed.
“Be quiet. They don’t know who I am,” the person filming the encounter said. “We’ll take them to court…Don’t say another word.”
“I’m not resisting, you dumb mother—kers!” Silva declared at one point.
Silva and Arnoult were both transported to the Craighead County Detention Center before they were released on bond later in the day, The Jonesboro Sun reported.
Arnoult was charged with disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
Silva was charged with refusal to submit to arrest, public intoxication, obstruction of governmental operations, and disorderly conduct.
The JPD released a statement on Tuesday announcing that Officer Harris had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the level of force used in Silva’s arrest.
“We are aware and very concerned about the use of force incident that occurred on July 10th in the parking lot of a Jonesboro night club and started circulating on social media this past weekend,” the statement read. “Upon learning of this event, we immediately began an investigation into the level of force used by the officers involved during the arrest.”
“The primary officer in the incident was placed on administrative leave on Monday pending the outcome of this investigation. We will post an update once the investigation has concluded,” the JPD said.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: