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Man Sues Officer After Excessive Force Arrest

An Arkansas man is suing a police officer after he was repeatedly tasered for not providing his name upon arrest.

Chardrick Mitchell says he was the victim of excessive police force during an encounter with Officer Stephen Sigman on the Fourth of July. Body cam footage of the encounter shows Officer Sigman not telling Mitchell he was under arrest until after firing the Taser gun at the man’s back, according to the New York Daily News.

“At no time did Mr. Mitchell resist arrest, especially since he had already been tased when he was first told he was under arrest, even though he had at that point committed no possible criminal act,” says Chardrick’s attorney James Harris.

The video shows “that the first time Officer Sigman told Mr. Mitchell that he was under arrest was either at the moment the taser was fired or just as the taser was striking Mr. Mitchell in the back,” according to the lawsuit.

Officials with the Blytheville Police Department say they have not seen the lawsuit. The agency declined to mention if they would open an investigation into whether Sigman used excessive force.

The incident occurred after Sigman was called to Mitchell’s apartment. His ex-girlfriend, who placed the 911 call, was attempting to get her belongings from inside. Mitchell, who refused to let her in, was seen sitting “calm and quiet” in front of the apartment when Sigman arrived.

The video also shows Sigman becoming increasingly angry, telling Mitchell he could charge him with obstruction after Mitchell refused to identify himself.

As Mitchell starts to walks towards his apartment door, Sigman pulls out his taser and yells, “Hey turn around, you’re under arrest.”

The lawsuit says, “In all likelihood, that pain will be with him for a substantial period of time and it may be permanent.”

Officer Sigman was also involved the fatal shooting of another Black man, Terrence Dawson, in May of 2013. Prosecutors concluded the shooting was justified, because the victim had pulled out a knife and proceeded to lunge at officers.

Both incidents are “indicative of the common practice” of over aggressive behavior towards Black people and “thus an institutionalized practice of using excessive force against African Americans in the Blytheville community,” the claim states.