Bodycam footage of Hot Springs officer tackling teen girl
Hot Springs police have now released the body cam footage of an incident involving a teen girl being tackled by a police officer on Halloween night.
According to reports, just before 7:30 p.m. Lt. Kenny May with the Hot Springs Police Department saw a group of females walking down the intersection of Glade Street and Park Avenue. He then allegedly saw one of the girls "intentionally throw a beverage can" onto the street, and he proceeded to turn on the lights of his vehicle, which initiated the dash and body cam while he pulled over on the side of the road.
Lt. May got out of his vehicle to speak to the girl. She saw the officer and ran into the street to get the can and started to walk away with the other girls.
The officer told the girl to come speak with him and warned her about throwing trash into the street. He also warned another girl about "invading his personal space" and she allegedly "encroached" on him twice. During this, he pushed one of the girls away from him.
As she was walking away, the girl with the can reportedly threw it at the officer while saying that she was a juvenile and was going to call her mom. The officer encouraged her to make the call and radioed for backup.
He followed behind her and requested to speak to the girl's mom. He also told one of the other teens to also contact her mother. Police say the teens refused to contact their moms and were reportedly getting more "aggressive" while cursing and using foul language toward the officer.
Lt. May warned them to stop invading his personal space and to back away. One of the girls then reached out and grabbed at him, and another threw something at him.
Police claim that two of the girls were aggressive and "attempted to advance" on the officer many times by "forcing him to physically push them away" and create distance between himself and the minors.
He continually asked the girls to stay back when one of them wearing a coat and white shirt proceeded to make "physical contact" with him. May would then push one of the girls and the girl in the coat before tackling her from behind.
When he did, the other three girls began to hit him in the head and neck area. He then stood up and began to defend himself when other officers arrived on the scene.
The officers then proceeded to handcuff the girls and place them in police cars to be taken to the police station. One of the girls stated that she was having an asthma attack, so paramedics were called, and she was given her inhaler.
The girls were taken to the Hot Springs Police Department and have been charged with second-degree battery.
In a statement, the Hot Springs Police Department stated the following, "We never wish for officer contacts with citizens to lead to use of force, and particularly when the contact is involving minors. However, every person has a right to defend themselves when they are physically threatened or assaulted. In the case of law enforcement, they also have the right and authority to effect an arrest on persons who verbally threaten, physically threaten, or physically assault them or another person."