SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – The Hot Spring County sheriff is speaking up after two of his deputies were arrested and accused of beating a former inmate while dropping him off in another county.
Hot Spring Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner said two deputies, 38-year-old Corporal Robert Campbell and 67-year-old Lieutenant Darrell Pierce were accused of beating a just-released county inmate while dropping him off in Saline County.
Both deputies, who serve as transport officers with the jail, were arrested in Saline County after that sheriff’s department investigated the alleged beating.
Pierce has resigned from the department and Campbell was terminated, and an internal investigation is underway, the sheriff said. The jail administrator, who had started in January, has also resigned, Finkbeiner said.
According to investigators, the former inmate was found late Wednesday night suffering injuries after being dropped off in Saline County.
Finkbeiner said the man was being released after being jailed due to a misdemeanor. After release, he was given a courtesy transport to Saline County where the deputies dropped him off at a store.
Because the car they were using did not have a cage, the man was kept in handcuffs during the ride. The deputies told investigators as they were uncuffing him the man became violent and they said they used pepper spray to subdue him.
Instead of contacting Saline County Sheriff’s Office for assistance, the two deputies then drove away, investigators were told.
Authorities said the man had redness and swelling on his face and told Saline County deputies he had been pushed to the ground, punched and pepper-sprayed by the Hot Spring County deputies.
The former inmate was taken to the hospital by the Saline County deputies, where he was treated and released.
The two Hot Spring County deputies were not equipped with body cameras.
Finkbeiner added that he had a problem with the deputies not dropping the former inmate off in a “civilized” location. He also had a problem with them driving away after using pepper spray on the man.
“They clearly violated our training and our policy on pepper spray,” Finkbeiner said. “Whenever you use pepper spray you have to decontaminate them, and they did not do that.”
The sheriff said he was not able to discuss the location choice with the two deputies.
“They [Campbell and Pierce] knew better and they are not wanting to talk now,” Finkbeiner said.
Both Campbell and Pierce were booked into the Saline County jail. Campbell is facing charges of third-degree battery, and Pierce is facing charges of second-degree assault as a result of the investigation.