Big Spring PD: Internal investigation concludes arrest tactics reasonable

Big Spring PD: Internal investigation concludes arrest tactics reasonable
(Source: Raycom Media)

BIG SPRING, TX (KWES) - An internal investigation in the Big Spring Police Department has concluded the arrest tactics in a viral video from September were reasonable based on the circumstances.

Back on Sept. 23, a video shared on social media questioned the arrest tactics used by a Big Spring police officers while arresting a woman.

After an internal investigation was conducted, it was revealed that Officer Benoit recognized the woman from previous encounters and checked for warrants out for her, knowing he had filed a forgery on her. Dispatch confirmed she had warrants for possession of marijuana, less than two ounces.

Officer Benoit then made contact with her and attempted to detain her for the warrant, asking her to put down the items in her hands. She responded "no" several times and disobeyed his orders while backing away from him as he attempted to handcuff her.

When the officer attempted to grab the woman's arm to handcuff her she began to actively resist by pulling away, but he was able to place the handcuffs behind her back. Once she was in handcuffs, the officer attempted to contact dispatch for assistance, but the radio traffic wasn't received by dispatch.

Because of his previous encounter with the woman, Officer Benoit knew she had a history of running from the police and it was common for her to be in possession of knives, hypodermic needles, prohibited weapons and glass pipes used for methamphetamine.

The investigation also revealed the officer gave her several opportunities to stand up and walk, which she refused to do and pulled herself into the ground.

The woman did say she was pregnant and that officer Benoit had broken her wrist. He was able to call for another officer to assist him and an ambulance was sent to their location. The woman was taken to Scenic Mountain Medical Center Hospital where she was sedated due to her hostility toward hospital staff.

She was later booked into the Howard County Detention Center for possession of marijuana warrant and an additional possession of a controlled substance warrant.

When she was interviewed in regards to the video, it was confirmed she was not pregnant and she said she did not remember the incident with officer Benoit and that she had been extremely dehydrated.

The internal administrative investigation concluded that the particular tactic used by Officer Benoit to accomplish the arrest was reasonable, based on the totality of the circumstances.

The department released the following statement:

"However, this particular tactic is not and has not been taught or part of the training curriculum of the Big Spring Police Department and we believe a better tactic or decision should have been applied or made.  Furthermore, it was concluded through this investigation that the female suffered no injuries as a result of the use of force used by the officer other than a small scratch to her knee area.  Officer Benoit has less than one year of experience with the Big Spring Police Department and had had no disciplinary actions against him prior to this incident.  Officer Benoit has since been counselled regarding the use of this specific tactic and will be required to attend remedial training on the use of force, and our agency policy."

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