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VIDEO: Arkansas man shot with Taser awarded $35,000; officer used ‘excessive force,’ lawsuit claimed

by Kenneth Heard | January 28, 2017 at 4:30 a.m. | Updated January 30, 2017 at 4:30 a.m.
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.

A man who filed a lawsuit against the city of Blytheville, the police chief and a patrol officer after the officer shot him with a Taser during a July 4 arrest has settled the legal action.

Chardrick Mitchell, 25, of Blytheville was awarded $35,000 on Friday when the Blytheville City Council met in special session and approved the settlement, said Mike Mosely, an Arkansas Municipal League attorney who represented the defendants.

"We are happy it's been resolved," Mosely said. "This is the proper resolution."

Mitchell's attorney, James W. Harris of Blytheville, did not return telephone messages Friday, but his office confirmed the settlement.

Blytheville Police Chief Russ Thompson did not return telephone messages.

Mitchell claimed Blytheville officer Steven Sigman used excessive force against him when the officer shot Mitchell at his apartment complex July 4 after Sigman responded to a disturbance call. Mitchell claimed in his lawsuit that he was "calm and quiet" and at no time resisted arrest, but that Sigman still fired on him with the electrical device.

Mitchell said in the lawsuit that Sigman became angry at him because Mitchell would not let his former girlfriend into his apartment to retrieve personal belongings.

Sigman "became agitated and angry at Plaintiff Mitchell and threatened he would be charged with 'obstruction,'" the lawsuit said.

Video taken from a body camera worn by Sigman during the incident showed Mitchell sitting on the back of a car in the apartment complex parking lot. Mitchell got off the car and began walking toward the apartment building.

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"You can't stop her from getting her clothes," Sigman said to Mitchell in the video.

He then told Mitchell to "turn around. You're under arrest."

Mitchell continued walking away from the officer and Sigman drew his Taser and shot Mitchell in the back, the video showed.

Harris wrote in the lawsuit that the "over-aggressive" behavior shown by Sigman was "an institutionalized practice of using excessive force against African Americans in the Blytheville community."

Mitchell is black; Sigman is white.

Blytheville Mayor James Sanders said Sigman remains on the police force. He said he would not comment further regarding the settlement and referred calls to Mosely.

State Desk on 01/28/2017

Print Headline: Man shot with Taser awarded $35,000; Blytheville police officer used ‘excessive force,’ resident claimed in lawsuit

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