The Pulaski County sheriff's office has recommended decertification for a former patrol deputy who was arrested last month in the assault of a man.
Authorities arrested Daniel Scott Cantwell on Sept. 17 after he was accused of hitting a man in the face and threatening to kill him, according to an arrest report. Cantwell, who has since resigned from the Pulaski County sheriff's office, was arrested on charges of second-degree battery, first-degree terroristic threatening and third-degree assault, authorities said.
In a document received by the state's Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training, the Pulaski County sheriff's office recommended the commission decertify Cantwell as a law enforcement officer in the state. The document provided to the commission was obtained through the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
"I'm not pleased that he was involved in that incident," Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay said.
Cantwell's arrest stemmed from an incident in Saline County on Sept. 17. Officials from the Saline County sheriff's office responded early Sept. 17 to Brookhaven Court in rural Saline County for a report of "two males fighting and other people arguing," according to an arrest report. A report said the offense occurred at 1131 Brookhaven Court.
The complainant, Allen Craig, said Cantwell had followed him to his vehicle after an argument and hit him in the face, according to a report. The assault caused a "severe laceration" under the man's left eye, and emergency medical personnel said there could be an injury to his eye, the arrest report said.
Craig, along with witnesses, also reported that Cantwell threatened to kill Craig, according to the arrest report. A woman also told authorities that Cantwell had grabbed the front of her shirt during the incident, according to the report.
Craig was taken to a hospital but did not have life-threatening injuries, according to the statement from the Saline County sheriff's office.
Cantwell resigned from the Pulaski County sheriff's office on Sept. 20. The Pulaski County sheriff's office said the deputy was under investigation by the agency's professional standards unit at the time he resigned.
Lt. Cody Burk, a Pulaski County sheriff's office spokesman, said serious enough misconduct would prompt the agency to consider recommending a person be decertified as a law enforcement officer in the state. He said serious misconduct could include dishonesty or using excessive force.
If a law enforcement agency recommends decertification for one of its officers, the agency will provide the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training with documentation and evidence to support the recommendation, according to Brad King, deputy director for the commission.
The commission would then see the evidence and vote on whether to hold a hearing and move forward with the decertification process, he said. At the hearing, King said an officer facing decertification can choose to present a defense. Yet, he said most officers facing decertification do not contest the process.
King said an officer is then decertified from being a law enforcement officer in the state after a final vote of approval from the commission.
Law enforcement officers do not have to be arrested to face decertification, King said; some could face decertification by violating a department rule.
The circumstances of each case are varied, but King said most of the time an officer facing decertification has been accused of violating a policy. He said those violations can include lying in an internal investigation or being found of misbehavior with the public.
"[Being] dishonest is almost always a decertification," he said.
Further documents from the commission show that Cantwell was previously employed by the Pine Bluff Police Department and resigned in October 2015, citing personal reasons.
Metro on 10/23/2017
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