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Police officer fired after Arkansas high school football player's wrongful arrest

by Tracy Neal | December 1, 2016 at 5:45 a.m.

BENTONVILLE -- A sergeant with the Centerton Police Department has been fired for his role in the wrongful arrest of a Fayetteville High School football player last month.

Police Chief Cody Harper confirmed the firing Wednesday. Another officer involved in the case also is being disciplined in-house, said Harper who would not release the sergeant's name or the punishment for the other officer.

The punishments are in connection with the Nov. 15 arrest of Terrance Rock.

Rock, 18, of Fayetteville was arrested in connection with residential burglary and theft of property, both felonies. He was released from the Benton County jail the next day on a $10,000 bond.

Harper said department policy was not followed in which the arrest warrant was not sent to the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for approval.

Harper said he is working on a new approval process and better checks and balances to prevent a similar mistake. He also said he is working to get Rock's fingerprints and arrest record removed from the court system. The bond money has since been returned.

"I have not been able to speak with Terrance directly," Harper said. "I have left him voicemails."

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Rock's attorney, Lance Cox said he has not yet discussed with Rock and his family about filing any legal action against the department.

"It is in Terrance's best interest to wait until football season and semester are over with so there will be no distractions for his football season and academics. We will meet at some point and talk about his options," Cox said.

Nathan Smith, Benton County's prosecuting attorney, said his office will file the necessary paperwork so that Rock will not have to appear in court for arraignment Jan. 3.

Centerton police arrested Rock at Fayetteville High School on Nov. 15. Police didn't interview Rock before they arrested him, Cox said.

Harper apologized for the mistaken arrest in a Nov. 18 news release.

Police confused the teen with another person, Cox said after the arrest in which a Centerton man claimed Rock and two juveniles stole items from his home, according to a probable cause affidavit. The man reported stolen speakers, a cellphone charger and two watches.

Harper also said in the November news release that a juvenile came forward after Rock's arrest and reported his guilt. The juvenile has a similar physical appearance as Rock, the release stated. Police had identified Rock as a suspect through Instagram, but it wasn't Rock's account.

Sports on 12/01/2016

Print Headline: Centerton police officer fired after teen's wrongful arrest

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