Conway, AR — Faulkner County Sheriff’s deputy, Eugene Watlington, 43, went to trial last week for excessive force after stomping on the head of Harvey Martin. The entire assault was captured on video by Mayflower police officer Dalton Elliott.
The violent arrest happened during a botched police chase in 2015, during which Martin was working undercover for Conway police. When Faulkner County deputies attempted to pull over a Mustang carrying Martin and the man who he was supposed to be surveilling, Christopher Cummings, all hell broke loose.
As the chase began, Cummings held a gun to Martin’s head and forced him to speed away from police, according to authorities. The chase only ended once the Mustang ran out of gas. When the chase ended, however, the violent excessive force began.
According to Elliot, he and two deputies had their guns drawn when they arrived at the site in Conway where the chase ended once the Mustang ran out of gas. Elliott said they told Martin to put his hands up, which he did. Elliott said Martin did not resist arrest.
When police moved in to make the arrest, Cummings ran, but Martin immediately complied.
Naturally, Watlington’s fellow officers claimed that Martin was not cooperating and continued to “reach for his waistband.” But, the video does not show this. Also, Martin would not have any reason to reach for his waistband as he was working for the police at the time.
During the trial, Elliot testified that he counted “nine to 10 times” that the 6-foot-1 Watlington, who weighed 310 pounds according to his arrest warrant, kicked Martin with his boot.
Watlington was not participating in the arrest and was only standing there — just waiting to inflict violence.
According to Arkansas Online, Conway Police Department officer Glen Cooper testified that Martin was trying to help Conway police locate Cummings that night. Cooper said Watlington asked him to question Martin later because Watlington said Martin wouldn’t want to talk with him. Watlington then smiled and shined a flashlight on one of his boots, the officer said.
“Help me! Help me! I’m not resisting,” Martin can be heard screaming in the video as officers stomp, punch and kick him. The sound of the beating was so overwhelming in the courtroom that Martin’s mother broke down into tears and had to cover her ears.
“I think the best piece of evidence was … the video” filmed by Mayflower police officer Dalton Elliott with a body camera, Special Prosecutor Tom Tatum said, according to Arkansas Online. “There’s no bias” with the video. “It … shows what it shows.”
Martin, who was actually helping police before being assaulted, was then rushed to the emergency room after the beating.
“I was beat down, tased, everything. I wasn’t putting up no fight,” Martin told authorities in an interview after his arrest.
Once the smoke and the blood cleared, all charges against Martin were dropped, and the attention was focused on Watlington. The Faulkner County Sheriff then fired Watlington after an investigation concluded that he’d used “excessive force.” He was charged a short time after being fired.
As the Free Thought Project frequently points out, violent and dangerous cops are allowed to continue to prey on society because their fellow cops remain silent in the face of excessive force. Fortunately, however, that was not the case this time around.
In spite of the fact that Watlington’s fellow corrupt cops attempted to cover for the officer, Elliot’s video and testimony were able to bring this bad cop to justice.
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