It's a twist of irony too rich not to generate a chuckle - the Branson Police Department asked the Taney County Prosecutor to file charges against a homeless man who onlookers claim was beaten by the Branson Police Department.
The Taney County Prosecutor complied and a hearing is set today in Forsyth where "Tex", aka Justin Sqyuers, will be formally charged with trespassing and misdemeanor assault on a peace officer among other misdemeanor charges.
After reviewing video of the incident that has not yet been released to the press; it is unlikely that the charges will pass the smell test of a jury.
Sqyres received a trespassing ticket on Dec 14, 2012 to which he plead guilty and was given community service. Squyers was told not to re-enter the property and complied until June 26th when he was told he could re-enter the property by the same person that filed the initial trespassing charge.
An employee of Country Mart in Branson, MO., stated a customer was bit by one of Sqyuers dogs; however no such incident was reported to the police. Country Mart headquarters made this claim in a written response.
According to Sqyres the manager of Country Mart invited Sqyres to visit with the new manager - twice. Sqyres visit to the grocery store didn't go so well and resulted in another call to the police for trespassing.
Several hours later (time varies depending on conflicting reports) Sqyures was approached by Branson Police Officer Will Reynolds. Sqyures was sitting on a public right of way when approached.
Reynolds told Sqyres, "It's up to me whether or not you'll be arrested ". Sqyres challenged the officers legal right to arrest him , and further challenged the officers physical ability to arrest him simply stating, " you better should bring backup".
Officer Reynolds chose not to take Sqyers advice and proceeded to initiate an arrest without backup. .
Sqyres was in fact correct, Reynolds did not have the strength to overpower Sqyres and was unsuccessful in detaining him alone. According to the Branson Police reports Squyers sat on his hands. "I don't want to go to jail said Sqyures". Officers speaking, off the record, marveled at Sqyers ability to endure tazer fire without takedown.
Video footage shows Squyers passively resisting but at no time retaliating even when blows were delivered to his head and neck.
Using strict application of the Human Rights Act of 1989 and the Fourth Amendment to the constitution - the arrest lacks validity.
As to public assertions regarding "brutality" - this was not a Rodney King style beat-down. The assertion that Reynolds assaulted a police officer are equally laughable and bring the integrity of the Branson Police Department filings in question.
Sqyures stated the Branson Police Department punished him after arrest by turning up the heat on high and leaving him in the car. Sqyures, who travels with two large dogs asked the police officers what would happen with the animals.
According to Sqyures, the officer said his animals would be brought to the pound and killed while he was in jail. An hour after being handcuffed in heat exceeding 100 degrees Sqyures started running him mouth threatening the officer with retaliation. Sqyures was brutal in his verbage to the police officer while handcuffed in the back of the car for over an hour.
Office Reynolds testified in writing that a "reasonably person would have taken the threat seriously". While officer Reynolds has every reason to be angry by what Squyres "diarrhea of the mouth" the charges appear to be more of a retaliatory measure than serious threat.
When the charges were initially presented their were chuckles in the courtroom as to how a reasonable person might take the vulgar statements; particularly when the suspect didn't respond violently even after being tazed, hit and forcefully detained.
The allegations of extreme brutality against Squyers is equally ridiculous - but the overuse of force, false arrest and illegal detainment could be issues heard by the court in future settings.
While the verbal abuse Reynolds endured after an hour of detainment will be examined by the court; Reynolds threat to kill the dogs was valid. Had Squyers not made powerful friends it is likely the dogs would be euthanized - killed - done -dead.
The Branson Police Department holds the use of force was reasonable and in compliance with national standards. I think it's important to note that if the same use of force was applied by a citizen to an animal - the human would spend several years in jail.
We live in a nation that protects the civil liberties of animals to a higher mark than our fellow brothers and sisters.
The Branson Police Department issued a nationwide press release claiming no complaints have been made to the Branson Police Department - at least one private citizen says otherwise.