From Big Spring Police Department:
Follow-up Administrative Internal Investigation 11-17-17
On the 23rd of September 2017, the Big Spring Police Department was made aware of an incident involving Officer Benoit. The administration had viewed a social media video that showed Officer Benoit making an arrest of an adult female and then pulling her to the side of his police unit. Chief of Police, Chad Williams initiated an internal administrative investigation of the incident the next business day on the 25th of September 2017.
The investigation revealed that on Saturday the 23rd of September 2017 at approximately 4:06 p.m., Officer Benoit, while on patrol, recognized the adult female from several past dealings and radioed dispatch to check warrant status for her, knowing that he had filed a Forgery on her in which he had requested a warrant. Dispatch informed Officer Benoit that the female did in fact have a confirmed warrant for the offense of Possession of Marijuana less than 2 ounces.
Officer Benoit then made contact with the female in an attempt to detain her for the warrant.
Officer Benoit told the female of the warrant for her arrest and then asked her several times to put the items that were in her hands, down. The female told Officer Benoit, “No,” several times and disobeyed his orders, while backing away from his attempts to handcuff her. Officer Benoit then attempted to grab her arm in an attempt to handcuff the female at which time she began to actively resist, by pulling away from Officer Benoit, but Officer Benoit was able to subdue the female and place her in handcuffs behind her back. Once Officer Benoit placed her in handcuffs, he attempted to contact Dispatch and request assistance, but that radio traffic was not received by Dispatch. Through Officer Benoit’s past dealings with this female, he knew she had run from the police and that it was very common for her to be in possession of knives, hypodermic needles, prohibited weapons and glass pipes used for methamphetamine. The investigation also revealed that Officer Benoit gave the female several opportunities to stand up and walk, in which she refused to do and continued to pull herself toward the ground.
Although the social media video is not complete, it did show Officer Benoit drag the female from the front of the patrol unit to the rear left side of the patrol unit. The female had made statements that she was pregnant, and that Officer Benoit had broken her wrist. Officer Benoit was able to call for another officer to assist him and an ambulance was also dispatched to their location. The female was taken immediately to the Scenic Mountain Medical Center Hospital where she had to be sedated due to her hostility toward hospital staff.
The female was later booked into the Howard County Detention Center for the Possession of Marijuana warrant and an additional Possession of a Controlled Substance warrant. She was interviewed by the assigned investigator in regards to this internal administrative investigation at which time she confirmed that she was not pregnant and advised 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. 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.
Chief of Police, Chad Williams