UPDATE: Vilonia police chief fires officer. Story updated at bottom.
A Vilonia policeman was arrested early this morning at a Conway private club on suspicion of disorderly conduct and public intoxication, both misdemeanor offenses.
The Conway Police Department released reports from three CPD officers today describing the arrest of 32-year-old Jeremy Smith, a patrolman with the Vilonia Police Department, at the Conway Veterans of Foreign Wars post off Old Morrilton Highway. According to these reports, the officers were dispatched to reports of two men fighting, one of whom was still on the scene and being combative with staff and customers. The three arrived at about the same time — around 1:35 a.m. — and saw a group of VFW employees and patrons restraining Smith against an outside wall.
"As I approached, they began backing away from the subject, continuing to tell him to calm down," Lt. William Keller wrote in his report. "(Smith) had blood on his face and hands. I told him to chill out, turn around and put his hands behind his back. He refused."
Lloyd Smith of CPD was riding with Matthew Edgmon, a rookie officer, for field training purposes when the call came in, and according to his account of the incident arrived at the VFW just behind Keller.
"As Keller approached ... the citizens let go of the man," Lloyd Smith
wrote. "I saw the man was my brother, Jeremy Smith."
At this point, according to Lloyd Smith's account, he told the rookie
officer that, due to his relationship with the suspect, "we shouldn't be
involved with this situation. ... but Jeremy only escalated the situation, challenging Keller to try and cuff him," Lloyd Smith's report continues. "When Keller tried to cuff him, Jeremy jerked away and took a defensive posture as if he was about to throw a punch at Keller. I decided I had to intervene."
According to Edgmon, "Ofc. L. Smith also began instructing J. Smith to calm down and stop fighting.
"J. Smith then continued to make threatening comments and gestures toward Lt. Keller," Edgmon's account continues. "At that time, Ofc. (Lloyd) Smith drew his taser and turned it on."
Smith wrote that when his brother continued to "raise his fists as if he was ready to fight, I pointed my taser at Jeremy and pled with him, 'please don't make me tase you.'"
Jeremy Smith continued to be uncooperative, according to the three officers, and was tased by his brother, handcuffed and taken to the Faulkner County Detention Center for 12-hour detox.
Vilonia Chief of Police Brad McNew declined to comment on the incident this morning, but told Vilonia correspondent Linda Hicks that he will issue a statement later this afternoon.
By Linda Hicks
Log Cabin staff writer
Patrolman Jeremy Smith, 32, arrested in the early morning hours on Wednesday and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Conway, has been terminated according to Police Chief Brad McNew.
McNew said he was waiting at the Faulkner County Detention Center for Smith when he was released Wednesday afternoon at about 2:30 following a standard 12-hour detox period.
“I picked him up and took him home and I terminated him. While there, I picked up property belonging to the Vilonia Police Department including his weapon, badge and vest,” McNew said.
Smith, McNew said, was officially terminated for violating state law and department policy.
“In this incident, he used poor judgment,” McNew said, adding that he holds all of his officers to high standards. Regarding Smith’s past performance, McNew said, “there’s no disciplinary action of any kind in his files.”
During the arrest, Smith was tased by his brother Lloyd Smith, a Conway police officer. When questioned concerning that action, McNew said, “That’s sad that he put his brother in that position. But, the Conway Police Department acted responsibly — as it should have acted.”
Should officers from the Vilonia department have been making a similar arrest, McNew said, he would have expected a similar response.
Smith was hired Feb. 19 and was still on probation with the Vilonia Department. He had been a member of the Fairfield Bay Police Department for about a year prior to his employment with Vilonia. Smith completed police academy training in September 2008.
The alleged crimes are misdemeanors. Jeremy Smith is set for a court appearance next month.