The entire matter was brought forth on Facebook excluding the names of the persons involved, which was proper since no one was guilty of anything. Bring up names serves only to negatively taint people when rumors have started and leave negative feelings regarding them.
The following was posted on the Newton Police Departments Page in chronological Order:
This morning the Newton Police Department was made aware of a criminal allegation against one of it’s officers. A resident posted to their personal facebook page stating they had witnessed an officer kick a sleeping homeless man who was laying on the ground.
We take these complaints seriously and immediately launched an investigation. We have dash cam video of the interaction and are confident these allegations are completely false. Our officer’s conduct was professional and non-aggressive in nature. The officer had absolutely no physical contact with the man. In fact we can not see an activity which could have been mistaken for the actions which were reported. We have reached out to the person who wrote the original post and asked them to come and view the video.
This incident is consistent with the vast majority of complaints we hear about our officers. When the video is viewed we find the claims have been exaggerated or as it appears in this case completely fabricated. Falsely accusing people of an illegal act (even officers) is a crime.
By the end of the day the following was posted:
Update on the Use of force complaint.
We had several opportunities to communicate with people in the community today. We were able to meet with the man who our officer contacted under the bridge, and he had nothing but kind things to say about his interaction with our officer. We spoke with the member of our community who posted the report indicating the inappropriate behavior of the officer. She viewed the video (which was from a different angle) and realized things were not as she perceived and believed to be true.
The ultimate take away is today’s events highlight the need for open lines of communications between law enforcement agencies and the people they serve. We are willing to hear concerns and address them, however furthering a false narrative without all of the information only serves to cause division. We have to be willing to work together to create the kind of community we all want to call home.
Thankfully the matter was resolved and the citizens were contacted and the rumors were put to rest or they would have undoubtedly grown. The officer and Department would have had a tarnished reputation for nothing that he had ever done wrong. Yet that is how the rumor mill works.
The Newton, KS Police Department and Officer should be commended.