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During a battery investigation, detention personnel leave the Hot Spring County Jail



Malvern, Arkansas – Due to an inquiry into their alleged beating of a guy freed from their cell, one Hot Spring County detention officer resigned and another was fired.

Additionally, Hot Spring County Jail’s newly appointed administrator from January 2023 resigned.

When Saline County Deputies responded to a Highway 70 business outside of Lonsdale at 11:40 AM on Wednesday in response to a probable assault, an investigation was launched. A man they encountered who had a reddened and puffy face explained how he had arrived to them.

Two Hot Spring County detention officials were about to release him from custody for a misdemeanor under the terms of a “courtesy release.” Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner of Hot Spring County reported that while the man was being released from handcuffs, he turned belligerent and began assaulting the deputies. One even stumbled and scraped his knee and hand on the floor.

The man who was being freed alleged that one police had pepper sprayed him and another had struck him in the face. Both were gone, he claimed, when he was able to see and stand up once more.

The incident took place in front of a storefront with a security camera. Finkbeiner noted that while not all deputies now have body cameras or patrol unit cameras, his department is currently soliciting bids to modify that.

The man requested medical help after Saline County deputies noticed he was in discomfort. He received treatment and was subsequently discharged after being transported by medical staff.

Detention officers from Hot Spring County responded to the Saline County Sheriff’s Office so that detectives could interview them. The Saline County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division assumed control of the investigation and contacted the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office to inform them of the incident.

Deputies from Saline County detained Lieutenant Darrell Pierce of Malvern and Corporal Robert Campbell of Hot Springs on Wednesday afternoon. Campbell is being looked into for third-degree battery, while Pierce is being looked at for second-degree battery. After being booked, both were freed in about 30 minutes.

Following an internal inquiry by the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office, Finkbeiner declared that he was certain Pierce and Campbell had broken both the department’s training and pepper-spray rules. When using pepper spray, according to Finkbeiner, the target must be decontaminated, which they failed to do.

Both men recently completed a correctional training course at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, and they were aware of improved behavior. Added Finkbeiner.

According to Finkbeiner, both individuals had worked intermittently at the jail for years, starting with the prior administration. Pierce and Campbell won’t ever again work at the county correctional facility, he made sure of that.

“At this point, all we can do is try to take corrective action. It’s not something we believe in. It’s not something that we endorse. People need to trust law enforcement. We’re trying to do everything we can to be open with everyone. We’re not covering anything up. We want it to be out there, so we can learn from mistakes and move forward,” Finkbeiner said.

The Saline County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of conducting any criminal investigations because it is where everything happened. Added Finkbeiner. As of Friday night, the investigation is still being conducted by the Saline County Sheriff’s Office.

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