Video shows the arrest of Razorback football players Brown, Slusher in Fayetteville’s entertainment district

FAYETTEVILLE — The city’s assistant police chief says officers involved in the Nov. 6 wrongful arrest of two Razorback football players did nothing wrong, while an attorney for one of the players said officers overreacted.

Anthony Brown, 19, and Myles Slusher, 20, were arrested around 2am on November 6 as bars were closing on West Avenue near Dickson Street. Police body-worn camera footage shows several people standing in the middle of West Avenue at the time while a barricade blocked traffic near Dickson Street.

Deputy Police Chief Jamie Fields said officers usually close West Avenue from near Watson to Dickson Street when bars in that area close at the weekend to get people out quicker. This part of the entertainment district is where a lot of people gather when the bars close, posing a potential for fights and conflict the longer people linger, she said.

Officers working that night were walking around trying to clear people off West Avenue in order to reopen it to traffic, Fields said. Body worn camera footage shows a handful of officers telling people to get off the streets.

A camera carried by Officer Nick White shows two other officers walking south down West Avenue among several people standing in the street. One officer goes to speak to a group to the west and the other officer, Jared Barnett, goes east and approaches Brown, who is standing at the curb with Slusher.

Barnett grabs Brown’s right arm and moves him to the sidewalk. Brown pushes the officer’s hand down and then pushes Barnett away with one hand.

From there, Barnett brings Brown down. He and another police officer hold Brown down. Brown asks Barnett why he laid hands on him.

“Because I told you to get off the street,” says Barnett.

Brown asks Barnett what he’s holding.

“Because you’re not listening,” says Barnett. “There’s no reason I have to tell you twice to get off the street.”

Fields said Barnett interacted with Brown earlier in the night while he was standing in the street. That first interaction was not recorded by Barnett’s body-worn camera, Fields said.

In later footage, Brown tells officers several times that Barnett verbally abused him and “aggressively” pushed him onto the sidewalk. Barnett’s body-worn camera audio only starts after Brown pushes him away.

“If someone touches a Fayetteville cop in the entertainment district or anywhere else, I expect them to arrest them,” Fields said.

White can be heard on video telling Barnett he saw Brown looking at Barnett before pushing him.

In one report, Barnett said he found a small bag of marijuana on Brown’s house, which he confiscated for disposal.

Fields said she reviewed the footage and it appears that Barnett and no other officer violated a policy. The footage matches what officers wrote in their reports, she said.

“We’re always looking at our operations and saying how we can do it better,” Fields said. “I think there’s something to be learned in all of our interactions about how to handle it better.”

The video is unclear as to what happened to Slusher. When Slusher intervenes, the video becomes too shaky to make out what’s happening.

Adam Rose, attorney for Slusher, said after the altercation with Brown, Slusher touched an officer’s shoulder to ask what was going on. Another officer pulled Slusher away and told him he was under arrest, Rose said.

There was no need to arrest the couple, Rose said.

“I think it was an overreaction for a fairly minor offense,” he said. “I think those officers targeted those players in some way or form.”

Neither Slusher nor Brown intentionally stood in the street to anger officers, Rose said. A large crowd had gathered and both men moved with the flow of the crowd, Rose said.

Rose said he pursues the lowest possible offense for Slusher.

“I don’t think he attempted violence against the officer,” Rose said. “I think he was honestly just trying to de-escalate the situation, he told me. He was just confused.”

Brown does not yet have an attorney listed in Fayetteville District Court records.

Both men were charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in prison or a fine of up to $500. Charges for both are scheduled for December 1st.

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