The North Little Rock Police Department has opened an internal investigation after an officer forced a 14-year-old girl to the ground Sunday while responding to a complaint about the child riding a bike on someone's lawn, police reports said.
Officers who were dispatched to a call about minors riding bicycles through a yard spotted the teen riding a bicycle that looked similar to one that had been reported stolen the previous day, department spokesman Sgt. Amy Cooper said in a news release.
When the child would not give the officer her name and age, the officer pushed her to the ground with her arm in an arm bar and placed a knee on the child's back until he got handcuffs around her wrists, according to the police report.
Denise Barton, 36, said her daughter called after the officer first said he intended to arrest her. The girl was crying and asked her mother to go to the scene of the incident at 101 Lindenhurst Drive.
"The officer had his leg on my daughter against the ground," Barton said. "He picked up her up, pushed her against the car and slammed her back to the ground."
The North Little Rock Police Department opened an investigation into the officers' actions after cellphone footage of the altercation showed up on social media, Cooper said. The officers involved in the incident are not currently on leave.
"The North Little Rock Police Department recognizes that this incident causes concern," Cooper said. "We are asking for the community's patience during the course of this internal investigation so that our department may complete the review and gather all facts surrounding this incident."
Officers responded at about 2:30 p.m. to Lindenhurst Drive, where a man had called to complain about children riding bikes in his yard, according to the report. Officer John P. Scott reported asking the girl for her name and age, and, when she refused to answer, told her she was under arrest.
Another officer reportedly tried to de-escalate the situation, but after the girl continued to refuse to cooperate with police, Scott grabbed her left arm and took her to his patrol vehicle, the report states.
Scott wrote in the report that he "forced" her to the ground, pressing her left arm behind her back, and placing his knee on her side "to keep her under control and pinned to the ground" because she continued to resist being arrested.
During the arrest, Barton and an unidentified person drove up and reportedly began interfering with officers' attempts to arrest the teen.
During a scuffle, the teen "lost her balance and fell to the ground," Scott said. The officer lifted her to her feet and placed her in the patrol vehicle, the report states.
One of the bystanders, whose name was redacted in the report provided by North Little Rock police, reportedly approached Scott's vehicle and refused to go back to his own. Scott wrote in his report that he pushed the person away from him and, when the person came back toward him, he grabbed both of the person's wrists and walked him back to the other vehicle.
The teen told Scott when he checked on her condition that her right side was hurting, and the officer reported noticing her left earlobe was bleeding from an earring piercing hole. She never complained of any pain to her ear, the report states.
"I was unable to verify that the bicycle was stolen." Scott wrote at the end of the report. "It was released to D. Barton."
The officers cited the child with resisting arrest, according to the police report. Cooper confirmed Tuesday the report is referring to the child as a 15-year-old, though Barton said her daughter is 14.
Barton, who saw the police report for the first time Tuesday, said the arrest left her daughter shaken and unable to sleep.
"She has not slept since," Barton said. "She's been up for 48 hours. I've contacted a counselor."
A family friend had given the 14-year-old the bike several months before, Barton said.
Barton said she felt much of what the officer reported was not representative of her daughter's actions. She also said the police report includes information about her daughter that she did not want publicized.
"I'm just very upset right now," she said.
Barton said she is in the process of making a formal complaint about the officer to the department.
Metro on 07/10/2019
Print Headline: North Little Rock looks into officers' actions in arrest of teen; scuffle followed girl’s refusal to provide name, police say