Arkansas Police Officer Cleared Of Choking Skateboarders

Tuesday, July 3rd 2007, 6:56 am
By: News On 6

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) _ A police officer who appeared to choke a skateboarder in a video posted online has been cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal review board.

The Hot Springs Police Department Internal Affairs Board found the use of force was within the police department's policy on non-deadly force and recommended ``no changes to this policy.'' The decision was released Monday.

Officer Joey Williams stopped a group of skateboarders June 21 on a downtown city sidewalk. Skateboarding is banned in the area.

The video shows Williams apparently choking one of the skateboarders after forcing him to the ground, then later chasing and wrestling two others while holding them in a headlock.

``This was a minimal force issue,'' Police Chief Bobby Southard told The Sentinel-Record. ``He didn't resort to anything above hand control techniques and handcuffing.''

Southard said Williams, who had been put on administrative leave, will return to bike patrol downtown Thursday. Six skateboarders _ two adults and four juveniles _ have court dates pending.