Teen Arrest

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 18, 2011

Family complains, police chief defends teen’s arrest

By Rupert Howell

Two Batesville policemen have come under fire from parents of a teenager who say in a letter to the editor their son was arrested for no apparent reason and charge that the patrolmen acted maliciously and cruelly.

Stacy and Sally Simmerman, parents of the teenager, have employed an attorney and state in the letter that patrolmen Greg Jones and Shawn Dalton should be dismissed immediately and should never hold such position again.

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Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones said earlier this week that his department has conducted an internal investigation and the patrolman was within the law when making the arrest.

An incident report provided by BPD states that the juvenile was put under arrest after ignoring the patrolman’s third request to come and talk to him.

Patrolman Jones’ report stated that he had observed two juveniles buying toilet paper in Walgreens and heard the two brag “ … about going to roll someone’s residence.”

That’s when he asked the subject to come and talk with him according to the report which stated that after the third and final time, “I then approached the subject and placed him under arrest for disorderly conduct – failure to comply.”

The teenager was later released without charges according to the letter and Chief Jones who said it was a judgement call.

The teen’s mother explained earlier to a reporter that her son was with an adult family friend who was taking the teenagers to another mutual friend’s home to roll the yard.

“Another officer might have handled it differently,” Chief Jones said, “But he (Patrolman Jones) was legal,” and then noted the juvenile was out after the 9 p.m. Halloween curfew and in possession of toilet paper.

The incident report states that the juvenile was released after Captain Clyde Estridge and Patrolman Jones decided that it would be best not to pursue charges.

“After explaining to the parents what is stated above (in the incident report) a conclusion was reached by both parties,” Patrolman Jones’ report states.

But the Simmermans’ attorney, Ron Lewis of Oxford, said he has made notice of claim in certified mail sent both to Chief Jones and Mayor Jerry Autrey with hopes of settling the matter without filing suit.

Lewis said city officials have 90 days to respond but if he decides to file a federal claim, officials would have only 20 days to respond.

(Please see related Letter to the Editor, page A5.)