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Dropped charge pegged to chief's police-work exit

He’s to resign job next week

By Bill Bowden

This article was published August 6, 2014 at 4:42 a.m.

The Bull Shoals police chief has agreed to resign and not seek future employment in law enforcement in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping an excessive-force charge filed against him.

U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks accepted the agreement between prosecutors and Police Chief Daniel Sutterfield on Monday.

Bull Shoals Mayor Bruce Powell said Sutterfield will resign Aug. 14. That will leave three police officers on the force, and one of those is on leave because of injuries suffered while on the job, Powell said in an email.

Bull Shoals, population 1,950, is in Marion County.

Powell said he's advertising for a new chief and additional officers. Sutterfield's salary was in the "low 30s," he said.

Sutterfield was charged with using excessive force during the July 9, 2013, arrest of Nicholas Dore. A three-day federal court trial in Harrison ended in a mistrial July 19 on the excessive-force count because of a hung jury.

The jury acquitted Sutterfield of two other charges -- falsifying records and conspiracy to falsify records related to the arrest reports.

A second trial on the excessive-force charge was to begin Aug. 18 in federal court in Fayetteville.

According to a June 25 superseding indictment, Sutterfield "kicked and stomped" Dore, struck him in the head with a shotgun, threw Dore into a fireplace and wall, and repeatedly shocked him with a stun gun, all while Dore was in handcuffs.

Two Bull Shoals police officers testified during the trial that they saw Sutterfield use unreasonable force against Dore after he was handcuffed. Sutterfield testified that he did use a stun gun on Dore after he was in handcuffs but denied the other charges.

Dore's arrest stemmed from a domestic abuse call to police.

Sutterfield was charged with conspiring with one of the responding officers, David Chatman, to falsify the police records, telling him to leave out violent details of the arrest, according to the indictment and testimony during the trial.

Dore has also filed a civil suit against Sutterfield, Chatman and the city of Bull Shoals claiming that he has endured physical pain, suffering and emotional distress and that he's also entitled to punitive damages.

In his order dismissing the charge against Sutterfield, Brooks wrote that the agreement was appropriate under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(a).

As part of the agreement, Sutterfield will permanently surrender his Arkansas law enforcement certification.

Federal prosecutors reserve the right to refile the charges if they feel that Sutterfield doesn't hold up his part of the agreement.

Cindy Chung, a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice who handled the case against Sutterfield, said she wasn't allowed to comment.

Prosecutors filed the excessive-force charge under 18 U.S. Code § 242, which concerns deprivation of rights under color of law.

Metro on 08/06/2014

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