Arkansas man alleges police framed him for man’s death

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — A northwest Arkansas man is suing police who he says tried to frame him for murder.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court by James Bates accuses police in Bentonville of conspiring to charge him in the 2015 death of Victor Collins, who was found dead in Bates’ hot tub.

A first-degree murder charge against Bates was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The case drew national attention when prosecutors sought recordings from Bates Amazon Echo smart speaker. Amazon provided the recordings after Bates said he didn’t object to the information being shared.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, says Collins, a former police officer, accidentally drowned and police wanted to ensure that his widow received his life insurance payment.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports a police spokesman declined comment.

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