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DA drops charges after violent arrest of man beaten on roadway

Reginald Arrington, Jr. under arrest two days before the slaying in Minneapolis of George Floyd. (Photo Hamilton County sheriff’s office)
This video from Hamilton County DA’s office shows the arrest of a Ohio man in Hamilton County May 23.

A police violence incident in Hamilton County, Tenn., pits DA Neal Pinkston and Sheriff Jim Hammond, who accuses Mr. Pinkston of interfering with his department’s arrest of Reginald Arrington Jr., an Ohio visitor to the county siezed on foot.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

Mr. Pinkston says in a press release Tuesday he dropped charges of resisting arrest, simple assault on police, criminal impersonation, pedestrian in roadway and four counts of aggravated assault on police. Due process violations give grounds for dismissal of criminal counts.

Sheriff Hammond is under transportation administrative notice about the limits in Title 55, motor and other vehicles, as of March 1, 2018, and the county is also under an administrative notice, as of April 15, regarding the citizen right to be arrested under a warrant unless conditions are met in an exemption statute at Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-7-103, arrest by officer without a warrant. Whether Mr. Arrington was involved in a “public offense” to allow deputies to arrest him without a warrant is unclear. He also was subject to arrest if a person attested he had committed a crime in his presence, attested under oath.

Under the constitution, one cannot be arrested without a warrant — it’s that plain. A judge must approve of the arrest first, before the arrest. The only way an arrest is lawful is if the person is committing a public offense in the officer’s presence, an act that causes a public threat, disturbance or offense, according to numerous court rulings cited in the administrative notice to the county commission and the corporation.

Clergymen outside city hall Tuesday afternoon expressed concern.

“I can tell you this, we are not pleased with the Sheriff’s response. We’re definitely not pleased with that,” First Baptist Church East 8th Street Pastor William Terry Ladd told TV12.

According to TV12, “During the arrest process, the officers and Arrington got into a physical altercation. General Pinkston said the bodycam and dashcam footage from the officers caused enough concern to warrant an investigation. ‘I have not made a final determination on anything related to this case,’ said General Pinkston, ‘but what I saw in the videos was troubling. That’s why I’m requesting a thorough investigation to ascertain whether or not excessive force was used in this incident.” The officers involved in this incident are white. Mr. Arrington, who is from Ohio, is African American. General Pinkston added that all of the charges against Arrington were dropped today.”

Deputies in the video says Mr. Arrington was “approaching women in the neighborhood and they thought he was armed.” A search of the NCIC database came up empty, one officer says. The voice says Mr. Arrington tried to grab a deputy’s firearm, and the speaker suspects the accused was stimulated by crack.

Multiple videos are available on TV12’s website.

The following is a statement from Sheriff Hammond:

Earlier this morning, Hamilton County District Attorney General Neil Pinkston released a video involving my deputies and Reginald Arrington, Jr., The video depicts my deputies’ actions in response to Arrington’s resisting arrest. By releasing this video, along with dismissing Arrington’s charges, General Pinkston essentially removed my deputies’ ability to offer direct testimony under oath pertaining to their actions and their training utilized in this incident.

By hastily dismissing charges and releasing this video without allowing a legal, preliminary probable cause hearing to take place, I feel General Pinkston’s actions will improperly influence and sensationalize the events of this incident to the public without allowing the legal process to effectively take place. Effectively, what General Pinkston has chosen to do is indict my deputies in the court of public opinion prior to facts being presented in a court of law.

Many of our citizens will view this video of Arrington’s resisting lawful arrest and may share concerns over how my deputies responded. Upon arrest, Arrington became combative at which time my deputies utilized compliance techniques, including the use of batons to eventually gain compliance. I ask our community to not rush to judgment based on the contents of the video, but allow for the investigation to take place at which time the actions of both my deputies and those of Arrington will be thoroughly reviewed. The dash cam video in question was taken internally by our personnel at the scene.

Based upon preliminary review of the video, I am not placing any of the deputies involved in this incident on administrative leave. However, to ensure this event is thoroughly reviewed, I have ordered an Administrative Review to be conducted to ensure Arrington’s treatment was justified and our policies and procedures were followed.

We are a nation of law and order and in order to remain so, it is imperative we allow and encourage the legal process to take place. This includes allowing for preliminary probable cause hearings to take place so all sides can be heard. As always, we welcome an outside review and will cooperate and offer any evidence necessary to seek a legal and appropriate resolution.

As sheriff, it has always been my intention that this agency stand firm and remain transparent even in the harshest light of public scrutiny. However, I cannot sit back and remain idle while my deputies have their right to be heard infringed upon.”

One Response

  1. Joan Farrell

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