Arguments Begin In Dover Officer's Excessive Force Case

Sep 28, 2015

Credit Dover Marshall

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas is suing a Dover officer for excessive force against a teenage boy and his mother.

Jury members were selected and opening arguments were made in the case Monday. The ACLU alleges excessive force after Dover Deputy Marshall Steven Payton allegedly tased and beat Matthew Robinson and choked his mother Eva. The suit claims he was driving by their house and stopped his car after they waved at him from the street.

According to Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU, the case is being litigatied in part because of an on-going national conversation about law enforcement and the use of force. She said it hopes to encourage greater training of officers, an outside review board for use of force complaints, and regular video monitoring of officers.

“If you have cameras and you have privacy protections in place for the public and police officers, then everybody is able to see what actually happened," she said. "That may exonerate the officer from any wrongdoing and that would be just great," she added.

Sklar says three cameras were present at the scene of the incident and the department reports just one recorded without audio.

The Dover Police chief was not available by phone today to respond to the allegations.