Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jayson Stell Alleges Police Brutality

Addressing the Vilonia City Council Tuesday night, Jayson Stell asked the governing body to do their job and police their own force.

Stell, who said he has lived in Vilonia all of his life, detailed a traffic stop in the parking lot at Vilonia High School that occurred last week early on Tuesday morning where he said he became the victim of alleged “police brutality and excessive force” including being tasered.

“I never resisted,” he said. The incident, he told the council, happened in “broad daylight,” in front of a lot of witnesses.

Stell said he was not in the original vehicle that was stopped but instead was responding due to his knowledge that two underage boys were in the vehicle. The boys were reportedly being driven to the high school, and it was the adult driver of that car that was initially stopped. As well, Stell said, a third party (a female responding due to the presence of the minor boys) also allegedly experienced excessive force by officers and she received charges.

“What happened was wrong ... just wrong,” Stell said, calling for the council to be objective. The boys, he said, had no involvement in any wrong doing.

His addressing the council, he said, is an “official request,” asking the council to review audio and video from the dash cam of police cars and also the tape recordings of what happened in the police station as well as statements made by witnesses and be objective. In conclusion, he said he has retained council. A court date, he said, concerning his charges has been set for Aug. 10.

Mayor James Firestone responded to Stell’s request saying the matter is under investigation by Chief of Police Brad McNew. From the audience, McNew, echoed Firestone’s answer. McNew briefly addressed Stell saying it is a case that is under investigation and that has been turned over to the prosecuting attorney’s office.

That said, the meeting was adjourned with Stell taking his seat.

Alderman Kathy French was the only council member to speak out on the matter.

“Will we, as a council, get to see this and hear them,” she addressed McNew. To which, he answered, yes.