Two former workers at the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center have been arrested on felony abuse charges after authorities said they used excessive force and an unsafe restraint method during a scuffle with a resident more than a year ago.
Jimmie Bradley of Maumelle and Nicholas Stephens of Monticello face charges of abuse of an impaired person in connection with the Aug. 25, 2016, confrontation with the 50-year-old resident at the Warren center, state Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a news release. The center is one of five state-run residential facilities for the developmentally disabled.
According to an affidavit by an investigator with Rutledge's office, a video recording shows Bradley raising his elbow four times "in a striking motion" while holding the resident facedown on the floor in the living room of a unit at the center.
After Stephens arrived and helped hold down the resident, Bradley stepped on the back of the resident's legs and stomped on or near the resident's body, investigator Rhonda Swindle wrote.
Staff members at the center said the facedown hold is dangerous because it could cause suffocation, Swindle wrote.
The center reported the episode to the state's Office of Long Term Care, which found the allegation of abuse to be substantiated, the investigator wrote.
Bradley and Stephens, both 32, were fired and placed on the state's adult-maltreatment registry, she wrote.
"We take these types of incidents very seriously, and we expect all of our staff to follow the training provided," state Department of Human Services spokesman Amy Webb said in an email. "We train staff on the proper use of restraints and de-escalation, and re-train them if the need arises."
Stephens was arrested Oct. 30, and Bradley was arrested Oct. 31, Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere said in an email. He cited the "investigative process" as the reason the arrests came more than a year after the abuse report.
The altercation began shortly after 3 p.m., when the resident struck Bradley in the torso, then chased him and grabbed him by his right arm and the head, Swindle wrote.
The two fell onto an ottoman, Swindle wrote. Bradley attempted to restrain the resident by sitting on him, but the resident got out from underneath Bradley, the investigator wrote. The two continued to struggle while Bradley used a phone with one hand, she wrote.
Bradley pushed the resident to the floor and held him facedown, Swindle wrote. Although a kitchen island counter blocked part of the view, Bradley could be seen raising his elbow "four times in a striking motion," Swindle wrote.
Stephens then arrived and helped hold down the resident, Swindle wrote. About 19 minutes later, three nurses arrived and injected the resident with a "chemical restraint," Swindle wrote.
The resident was then allowed to stand and was escorted to his room, where he fell asleep, the investigator wrote.
Staff members the next day photographed the resident's injuries: A black eye, bruises on his forehead, behind his left ear and on his back, scratches on the back of his left shoulder, and a red, scratched, swollen left middle finger, Swindle wrote.
Bradley said in an interview and written statement that he struck the resident twice in the arm with a closed fist, walked on the back of his legs, and stomped the floor to scare and intimidate the resident, the investigator wrote. He said Stephens struck the resident in the head, Swindle wrote.
Both Stephens and Bradley acknowledged that they held the resident in unauthorized restraint for an excessive amount of time, Swindle wrote. They said the resident cried and apologized while he was being held on the floor, she wrote.
Metro on 11/17/2017
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