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Hoax police call lands innocent man in handcuffs

OSCEOLA, Ark. – When Harold Hollis stopped by a laundromat in Osceola July 3, he had no idea the day would end with him being taken to jail in handcuffs.

Hollis said a group of kids began swarming him as he opened his car trunk to retrieve some laundry supplies.

“They just start hollering, ‘It’s a kid in your trunk! It’s a kid in your trunk!”

There was no kid, Hollis said.

But someone must have called police, because when he arrived home hours later, he said officers were everywhere.

“They stopped me right here and he was like, ‘Get out the car! Get out the car!’ It looked to me that there was about three more of them, like seven police was over here,” Hollis said.

Several neighbors confirmed Hollis’ account.

Hollis said officers searched his car, but instead of letting him go when they didn’t find anything, he said he was taken to the police station in handcuffs and questioned for almost two hours before finally being released.

“I think it has a lot to do with that last name, Hollis,” said Hollis’ brother, Tony.

Tony Hollis, a local activist, questions if his past criticisms of police affected how his brother was treated.

“If I’m a police man, I’m going ask them where did she [caller] get her information from. If I’m hearing some juvenile kids, you know, that’s enough to stop,” Tony said.

The Osceola Police Department hadn’t responded to WREG’s multiple requests for an official account of the July 3 incident by Wednesday evening.

The Hollis brothers say police have yet to provide them with a police report.

“We’re talking about a simple incident report that should have been available upon request. The video camera should have been available upon request,” said Tony Hollis.

The owner of the laundromat declined to be interviewed but told WREG police later looked at surveillance cameras and couldn’t find anything to indicate Hollis had placed a child in his trunk.