Arkansas cops were busted in a video recorded January 15 detaining, arresting and charging a man with “obstructing governmental operations” for doing nothing more than walking down a rural road back to his father’s house after catching his lost kitten that had darted out an open door minutes earlier.
After arresting the man for refusing to identify himself, Mena police officer Mike Wolf, 53, can be heard slamming 25-year-old Timothy Perry’s body on the hood of his police cruiser after he was handcuffed.
Seconds earlier, Wolf told Perry he had grounds to arrest him for not identifying because he didn’t know how old he was before slamming his body onto the car, implying he couldn’t tell whether he was a minor or young adult.
During the incident, Mena police officer Paul Acreneaux, along with Wolf, explained they were just conducting a “welfare check” on behalf of the 25-year old’s safety, which they explained legally justified them for his detainment.
But the pair continued to detain, interrogate and threaten Perry with arrest even after it was obvious his welfare checked out just fine.
Despite never articulating the reasonable suspicion standard required to detain a person, the cops continued interrogating Perry even when he stated he wished to invoke his right to remain silent.
A few more seconds later, Wolf threatens to arrest and charge Perry with a crime insisting he had probable cause to arrest him, apparently banking on Perry not knowing his rights.
Despite his efforts to correct Wolf, insisting he wasn’t required to identify given the circumstances, Wolf insisted the opposite, stating he had a choice to identify himself or face criminal charges.
“Do I have to?” Perry asks.
“Supreme Court says you do,” Wolf says, apparently unaware of the the court’s ruling Terry v. Ohio, the one Supreme Court precedent taught in every basic police academy training program around the country.
Oblivious to the landmark 1968 ruling, Wolf arrests Perry less than two minutes after the video begins.
The video, which was posted on Reddit and reported on Cop Block, shows Paul Arceneaux (pronounced Ar-sen-o) exiting his police cruiser and approaching Perry shortly after the video begins (Cop Block refers to him as “Paul Larson” because the audio recording is difficult to understand).
“Man, where’d you run off to whenever I passed by you,” Arceneaux asks Perry with an overly friendly drawl, standing just feet in front of him.
“Where’s your house at?” Arceneaux begins interrogating Perry.
Officer Arceneaux, according to the Mena Police Department’s Facebook page, is a 37-year-old rookie whose been with Mena PD for less than a year.
“I’d rather not tell you that.” Perry politely exercises his privilege to remain silent during police questioning.
“Do have any identification on you?
“What’s your name?”
“I’d rather not tell you that neither,” Perry replies matching Acerneaux’s drawl.
“Why are you being so evasive?” Acerneaux asks, pretending to be confused about why anyone would do such a thing like refuse police questioning.
“Because I was catching my cat. And, all I know is I’ve got two cops on me. ”
“Well,” officer Arceneaux begins, attempting to justify his reason for approaching Mr. Perry. “I passed by you, and I turned around to do a welfare check on you.”
But as Perry stood with the two cops, it had already become obvious neither were actually concerned about his welfare.
That’s when the friendly cop takes a back seat.
“Why are you recording?” Mena cop Mike Wolf, who arrived less than a minute after the video begins, abruptly asks interrupting Acerneaux’s attempt to explain his reason for the encounter, which quickly turned into an detainment.
“So I’m protected,” Perry briefly explains. “So I know that–”
“What’s your name?” Wolf interrupts again, raising his voice a notch.
“I don’t want to tell you that,” Perry states, this time interrupting Wolf, apparently sensing what the pair of cops were actually up to. “I’m not in trouble–
“What’s your name?” Wolf quickly snaps in return.
“I don’t have to tell you that,” Perry replies as Acerneaux dimly laughs apparently amused the young man knows his rights.
“Yes, you do,” officer Wolf quickly asserts.
“I haven’t done anything wrong. If you’re going to take to take me to jail, go ahead and charge me.
Wolf raises he voice even more.
“We’re gonna ID you is what we’re gonna do. If you don’t cooperate, we will take you to jail,” Wolf gives an ultimatum as Perry turns the camera towards him.
“Can I have your name and badge number?” Perry calmly requests as Wolf appears to become angry over being questioned.
“Mike Wolf, badge number 506 Mena Police Department,” the angered cop replies.
Perry stays quiet, pointing the camera Acerneaux.
“Paul Acerneaux, 513” Acerneaux calmly says with a laugh, seemingly amused to be playing the good cop role and knowing what’s in store soon for Perry from the bad cop he’s partnered with.
“So you’re not going to give us your ID?” Wolf asks, now talking louder and faster.
“Do I have to?”
“Yes, sir,” officer Wolf, whose voting records indicate is associated with the Optional Party, says, as he apparently opts out of remembering Terry v. Ohio, the one Supreme Court precedent any cop worth is salt should know.
“Supreme Court says you do,” Wolf says, lying after Perry questions the legitimacy of his authority.
“The Supreme Court says if I’m not [under suspicion] of any charge–”
“You’re being detained right now,” officer Wolf informs Perry. “Because we’re going ID you, because you disappeared on this officer.”
“For what crime?”
A pause ensues.
“What crime have I committed?”
“I don’t know how old you are,” officer Wolf tells the 25-year-old.
“I’m old enough,” Perry says, sticking to his guns. “What crime have I committed?”
“Alright, turn around and put your hands behind your back.”
Perry lets out a sigh.
“Put your hands behind your back!” Wolf yells.
“Put ’em behind your back!” he blurts again as Perry’s phone falls to the ground, losing sight of the scene, as cuffs can be heard tightening on Perry’s wrist.
“You’re under arrest for obstructing governmental operation,” he says, tightening the cuffs even more.
“What do you got (sic) on you?” Wolf asks, finally revealing the reason behind detainment.
“Come over here by this car.”
Only after he was finally under arrest did Mena police recognize Mr. Perry’s right to remain silent.
“You have the right to remain silent,” Wolf acknowledges to Perry.
“I suggest you use it.”
Perry relayed in a message to Cop Block his kitten, who he has since named “Freedom” was not harmed by the officers and remains safely at home.
We suggest readers can address hand-written or digital compliments, or even potential complaints, to the Mena Police Department’s Facebook page.
The Mena Police Department, led by Chief Brandon Martin along with Assistant Chief Ed Gibson, can be reached at 479-394-1212.