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Bentonville Police Department addresses social media post about Capitol riot by senior officer

Some residents in the town questioned the timing of the officer's post while the deadly events at the Captiol unfolded.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The Bentonville Police Department is speaking out about a review of a senior officer's Facebook post concerning the deadly U.S. Capitol riot by pro-Trump supporters that left some Bentonville residents upset. 

On Jan. 8, 2021, the City of Bentonville issued a statement about comments from concerned citizens over a social media post made by an officer of the police department on his personal Facebook account. The City of Bentonville said the post would be thoroughly reviewed as a personnel matter, and corrective action would be taken if necessary. 

The statement by the officer (who has not been identified) on Facebook said:

“What is happening at the Capital(sc) is exactly what needed to happen! Open your eyes people, the left is taking everything you feel to be true and important and watering it down to the point in will go away. These law makers need to wake up and see the conservative side is fed up and will defend our rights! Prayers for all how are protesting today. Please stand firm and respectfully legally protest”  

The Bentonville Police Department says the officer commented during the early stages of the riot on Capitol Hill, and that he was unaware of the violence and chaos that was beginning to transpire. 

In addition to his original statements, the officer posted this shortly after his initial post about the riot on Facebook:

“Let me be clear: there is only one way to protest: Legally peaceful with honor is the only way to protest!! Those acting a fool need to go to jail!!!!” 

Five people have died due to the violence by supporters of President Trump at the Capitol, including a Capitol Police officer.

A man from the nearby town Gravette was at the center of the riot after he broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. He is facing a maximum of over 11 years in prison if convicted.

The Bentonville officer in question is a 16 plus year officer with the Bentonville Police Department. 

During the review of his Facebook post, the officer provided the following statement: 

“I have been made aware that concerns were brought forward about a post I made on Facebook. I regret that the post I made did not correctly state my true feelings. I failed to consider that my post, made from a distance and without great thought, might result in people in my own community misunderstanding me as well as the way it might reflect on the police department. 

I have been a law enforcement officer for more than 16 years. In becoming a law enforcement officer, I took an oath to support the Constitution. I supported the Constitution then, always have, and do now. Part of that Constitution includes the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government and I do think citizens have the right to peaceably do those things.

That being said, the rights to assemble and petition do not extend to violence or other violations of the law, which I do not support or condone. I am particularly regretful about people’s perception of my post, as what occurred in Washington included attacks on brother and sister law enforcement officers, some of whom were injured, and at least one of whom died.

I take responsibility for the social media post in question and recognize that the timing and wording contained within the posting leave room for interpretation that is both troubling and harmful. Such an interpretation certainly does not reflect my true beliefs as a lifetime supporter of the rule of law.” 

Based on the review of the post, the timing in which it was made, and the statements by the officer, the Bentonville Police Department says the issue has been resolved as an internal personal matter. 

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