Helena-West Helena officer charged with false imprisonment

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Charles Byrd

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — A police officer in Helena-West Helena is facing a misdemeanor charge after an incident that occurred while he was on duty in October 2016.

According to Helena-West Helena Police, Natavia Williams filed a formal complaint against Officer Charles Byrd after she said he falsely arrested her and used excessive force while she was walking near Walnut Street and McDonough Street to go to a doctor’s office to be treated for an insect bite.

H-WHPD put Byrd on paid administrative leave during its two-month investigation of the complaint. Police interviewed Williams and officers and determined Byrd’s actions were indeed a violation of the department’s arrest policy and of Williams’ rights.

Byrd, 41, was then arrested and charged with false imprisonment, a Class A misdemeanor.

He had been on the force in Helena-West Helena since 2013.

H-WHPD Chief Virgil Green affirmed the department takes citizens’ complaints seriously.

“We want our officers to be respectfully and courteous at all times when they are dealing with the public,” he said. “We are not above the laws we enforce.”

WREG was told Officer Bryd was at work on Tuesday.