Sheriff Bruce Pennington at his press conference Monday. (Photo: Steve Payne, THV 11)
BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - New details have been released surrounding the night Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington was arrested, being charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest.
According to five officers' reports, Pennington was highly intoxicated and belligerent with the responding authorities the night of June 29. In addition to being intoxicated, the statements say that Pennington was determined to drive home from Denton's Trotline, reiterating that he wasn't drunk and demanding the officers leave him alone. Each of the narratives stated that Pennington was determined to drive home and had no intention of giving in.
Read the entire statements from responding officers: http://on.kthv.com/12q2LNo (.pdf)
They went on to say that, due to the fear of Pennington driving off, one officer got into the passenger's side of Pennington's Yukon and retrieved his keys from the center console of the vehicle. An officer stated that Pennington tried multiple times to close his door while the officer was standing inside of it. The officers also noted that Pennington pushed and attempted to punch them with a closed fist. At some point during the altercation, two officers and Pennington ended up with blood on their hands or arms, according to the statements.
At one point Pennington reportedly said the officer was trying to ruin his (Pennington's) career. An officer was able to get Pennington to agree to a breathalyzer test, but Pennington would not blow into the device long enough to perform the test. As a result of this, the officer's were not able to collect an appropriate sample for testing.
Eventually, officers took Pennington into custody, double locked his handcuffs, and transported him via patrol car to the Benton Police Department for processing. While there, Pennington fell out of his chair and continued being belligerent with officers, according to their reports. It was also noted that Pennington's wrists were bloody due to his handcuffs.
Authorities discussed what charges to issue Pennington with and decided on Public Intoxication and Refusal to Submit to Arrest. A statement from the police chief said, "based on hardship that the sheriff's incarceration would have caused subordinate staff of the Detention Facility, I decided that a citation of the two charges would be sufficient. I also decided that the Sheriff would only be released when he sobered and became reasonable."
The report states that upon his citation for the offenses, Pennington reportedly became angry and argumentative, removing his watch and throwing it on a table, which caused it to shatter into multiple pieces.
About an hour after Sheriff Pennington's release, the Chief said he received a phone call from Pennington apologizing for his actions and saying he was at home to go to bed.
The day after the incident, Pennington held a press conference to explain what happened that night. During that conference, he said he was texting a friend to come pick him up and never had any intentions of driving home.
Police said at the time that Pennington was not charged with DWI because he did not have keys in the ignition when they approached him.