Even questioning police can get you into trouble in many jurisdictions.
Complaining about the police is apparently a crime in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. Police reportedly filed charges against Adam Finley when he made a true complaint about an officer.
Disturbingly, police had a dash cam video that verified Finley’s complaint but charged him anyway. Finely was charged with two misdemeanors; obstructing governmental operations and refusal to submit.
As a consequence of the charges, Finley might have faced jail time. Obstructing governmental operations is a class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail.
To add insult to injury, Finley might have lost his driver’s license. Failure to submit means not cooperating with a drug or alcohol test. It is punishable by a driver’s license suspension of up to three years.
Strangely enough, Finley faced those charges after he went to the police to complain about the behavior of Officer Matthew Mercado. Mercado allegedly roughed Finley up and swore at him during a routine traffic stop.
Video Shows Cop Abusing Motorist, Motorist Gets Charged
A very disturbing video clearly shows Mercado behaving in a very questionable manner.
Mercado pulled Finley over while he was on his way to work at the BNSF Railroad. Disturbingly, Mercado can be heard yelling at Finley and using the f-word.
To make matters worse, Mercado accused Finley of not being a railroad employee. Finley was clearly wearing a BNSF jacket and he had a BNSF ID card. Not even railroad equipment in Finley’s truck convinced Mercado that Finley was innocent.
Finley was handcuffed and lectured by Mercado because he simply asked a few questions. In the video, Finley does not appear “aggressive and hostile” but Mercado calls him that.
Frighteningly, Mercado admitted that he pulled Finley over only because he had Iowa plates on his truck. If that was not bad enough, Mercado threatened to use a Taser, an electric stun gun on Finley.
Complain About Police Get Charged With A Crime
Not surprisingly, Finley was upset and went to the Walnut Ridge Police Department to complain about Mercado.
Despite the video, Police Chief Chris Kirksey and Sergeant Matt Cook reportedly interrogated Finley. They then charged Finley with the two misdemeanors.
Worst of all, the Kirksey allegedly lied to Finley’s wife Heather who had gone to the station with him. Kirksey falsely claimed Finley had interfered with a law enforcement officer’s investigation.
When Heather Finley asked what her husband did. Kirksey answered, “Well, when you watch the video, you’ll find out.”
Man Claims Police Wrecked His Marriage
The problem with that statement is the video does not show an investigation. Frighteningly that did stop Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Cooper from filing charges against Finley. Fortunately, a judge acquitted Finley on both charges in April 2017.
Finley has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Walnut Ridge in which he claims Kirksey ruined his marriage, Washington Post columnist Radley Balko reported. Finley and his wife Heather were later divorced.
Worst of all, Mercado had a very questionable history as a cop. News Blogger Stan Morris discovered that Mercado had once been charged with battery. Mercado had also left two police positions in Colorado after less than three months on the job.
City officials in Walnut Ridge, denied Finley’s claims but Chief Kirksey resigned in June 2018. Not coincidentally, Kirksey’s resignation came two months after Finley’s lawsuit.
The 1st Amendment’s guarantee of free speech seems to hold little weight at the Walnut Ridge Police department. While this is just one incident, it does seem to be a national trend.
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