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story.lead_photo.caption This screenshot from a body camera video shows a Blythville Police Department officer using a taser on a man. An excessive force lawsuit has been filed in the case.

In a lawsuit filed this week, a white Blytheville police officer is accused of using excessive force against a black man on the Fourth of July, including subduing him repeatedly with a taser as he lay on the ground.

Attorney James W. Harris filed the case Wednesday in Mississippi County Circuit Court on behalf of Chardrick Mitchell, who faces charges of obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct and refusal to submit to arrest.

Body camera video shows officer using taser on man

This body camera video shows a Blythville Police Department officer using a taser on a man on July 4. An excessive force lawsuit has been filed in the case. Warning: Video contains graphic language. (By Courtesy Zach Morrison)
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The lawsuit states that on July 4, Mitchell denied his ex-girlfriend re-entry into his apartment to retrieve what she said was clothing left inside, prompting the woman to call police.

A responding officer later ordered that Mitchell allow his ex-girlfriend to get her left-behind belongings and to show his identification — requests that Mitchell “politely refused,” according to the document.

The Blytheville police officer, Stephen Sigman, became increasingly angry and threatened to charge Mitchell with obstruction, Harris said.

The lawsuit accuses Sigman of later using a taser when Mitchell walked toward the apartment's front door, with Sigman telling Mitchell that he was under arrest “either at the moment the [taser] was fired or just as the [taser] was striking Mr. Mitchell in the back.”

"At no time did Mr. Mitchell resist arrest, especially since he had already been [tased] when he was first told he was under arrest, even though he had at that point committed no possible criminal act," the document reads in part.

Harris said the incident was recorded on Sigman’s body camera and that a written report from police does not match the video evidence.

"I am appalled at the actions of Officer Sigman, as well as the inaction of Chief [Ross] Thompson in correcting this officer's gross misconduct," Harris said, adding that Sigman remains on the police force.

A copy of the video footage was not available Thursday afternoon, and a call to the Blytheville Police Department for comment was not immediately returned.

Read Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Archived Comments

  • Kharma
    July 21, 2016 at 11:03 p.m.

    Why are articles rarely if ever written to include facts like: Black man robs White owned liquor store, or Black man shoots White (or another Black) man? It's certainly not because similar incidents don't occur. But, let there be any altercation between a White cop and a Black male and that fact is (gleefully) repeated numerous times in the article.

    July 22, 2016 at 8:36 a.m.

    Just comply and do not act like fools!!!! Asking for his name several times and then he walks away, yes, tase him. As far as the officer knew, he was going to run once he cleared the car. Now, Riddle, finish the story. Did he not want to give his name because he had warrants? If you are going to report stories of idiots and thugs like this, see it thru don't make it look like the police are not facing possible lethal threats at every encounter.

  • DEE672
    July 22, 2016 at 10:45 a.m.

    I did not see excessive force. I saw a non compliant subject to a required question by the officer who showed more restraint than I would have.

  • LR1955
    July 22, 2016 at 12:30 p.m.

    #1 take-away: Women, quit shacking up with smart mouthed punk thugs like this taser victim.There are plenty of good men out there that will treat you right.

  • YoungHog
    July 22, 2016 at 12:41 p.m.

    He should have simply given his name.. He didn't have to open the door. Unless she lived there.. - TOUGH

  • gfeltontx
    July 22, 2016 at 1:28 p.m.

    All five of these posts are amazingly ignorant. Do not one of you understand the officer had no right to his name? He can ask for it and the guy declined to give. NOTHING ILLEGAL HERE!

    He was not under arrest which means he was free to turn around and walk away. The ridiculous attempt to claim he was under arrest was shouted as the tasers were flying plus the officer had no legal basis to place him under arrest.

    I'm from Texas and always wonder what the breeding program was north of here and now I see it clear and simple.

    You fools are so ready to give up your constitutional rights here but raise a stink about gun registration. We have laws regarding what the police can do and demand. It doesn't matter if he had any warrants, he doesn't matter he was clearly not very intelligent or educated. He still has rights!!!!!!

  • Packman
    July 22, 2016 at 3:43 p.m.

    This article is very instructive. A cop was dispatched to a domestic disturbance. The disturbance involved a young black male. Cops don't get to pick and choose when they are dispatched. If the majority of calls/dispatches involve young black males, it's not difficult to see how a disproportionate number of young black males end up in trouble with the law.

  • NoUserName
    July 22, 2016 at 4:02 p.m.

    Apparently people aren't much smarter in Texas, either. Perhaps you should look up Hiibel v. Nevada before spouting that you are required to provide your name ONLY when you are under arrest. I don't think AR has a stop and identify law, so Mr. Texas, like a broken clock, is correct this time.

  • ChrD
    July 22, 2016 at 4:09 p.m.

    A couple corrections: the officer did not ask to see identification, only asked the man to give his name. Also, Chardrick never refused to give his name, he simply walked away.

    In my opinion, the officer did not get increasingly angry. This is up to your journalistic license, as you are quoting Harris, but you neglected to use quotation marks which mislead me upon first reading. If anything the officer grew chillingly calm before the incident.

    And a question: did you have access to the police report so we can compare the video to the officer's testimony? I want to know what he lied about. The video evidence does not match your written report because the officer only subdued Chardrick once, not repeatedly.

  • johnmiller82
    July 24, 2016 at 8:11 p.m.

    All of you cops and cop apologists are disgusting traitors to the country's principles. We The People are not your subjects. We're not here to comply with your every word. You are here to serve us, and it's about time you start acting like it, instead of acting like the thugs you encounter every day.

    When your tax payers get the bill for this idiot's behavior, keep telling yourselves that the cop didn't do anything wrong.