I received a followup from the Little Rock Police Department yesterday on the work history of Officer Chris Johannes, who shot the driver of a car in the Park Plaza parking deck earlier this week when Johannes felt the car was backing up toward him in a threatening manner. The driver survived and has been jailed on a variety of charges. A subsequent search turned up drugs and guns in the car. Johannes had been trying to stop the car initially because a 17-year-old Cabot woman had complained to a mall security officer about men in the car asking her to join them.
I reported yesterday that Johannes had filed dozens (72, the police said) of the official reports required when an officer uses force or engages in a chase. As I mentioned yesterday, many seemed routine, often reporting takedowns necessary to handcuff drunk and belligerant people in domestic disturbances. He'd never used his gun in his seven years on the force until this week, while working off-duty as a security guard at Park Plaza mall.
I received today reports handled by internal affairs on Johannes.
These show he's been suspended three times for patrol car wrecks:
* He was suspended July 19, 2009 report for 20 days for wrecking his patrol car March 5, 2009. The report said he was on Cantrell Road "at an extremely high rate of speed. As he entered a curve, he lost control and left the roadway, striking a tree. His vehicle then spun clockwise into the treet leaving the roadway striking a utility pole, snapping it into three pieces."
* He was suspended two days for an on-duty accident June 12, 2007 in the 400 block of Schiller Street, but details of that accident weren't available.
* He was suspended one day for backing his patrol car into a concrete pillar in the parking deck at 4th and Broadway on Sept. 16, 2005.
Another wreck did not prompt a suspension. He was chasing another car that wrecked March 28, 2008 and struck a curb. The report doesn't specify the extent of damage, but said the curb was not defined and the area was not properly lighted.
Additionally, the police released eight citizen complaints against Johannes for behavior ranging from rudeness to an airport user he cited for littering; to failure to use a seatbelt on a suspect who said as a result he hit his head in the patrol car during an abrupt stop; to loss of property by people arrested. None of these resulted in a suspension so details of the investigations weren't revealed. At least two relate to his use of physical force in his job at Park Plaza.
These complaints mirror reports Johannes himself filed so some details can be gathered. For example, a man Johannes arrested at Park Plaza Oct. 9, 2009 said Johannes threw him to the ground and choked him. Johannes own report said such force was necessary to arrest the man, who'd been banned from the mall, and, Johannes said, repeatedly resisted his effort to stop him.
Sydney Macfoy, arrested for trespass, terroristic threatening and public intoxication Nov. 25, 2005, said Johannes and another officer beat him in the security office at Park Plaza after he was handcuffed. He said he got a "large abrasion" on his forehead from being slammed against a door.
Johannes reported the physical contact with Macfoy that day. His account said Macfoy had been banned from Park Plaza and was arrested and handcuffed to be taken to the security office. Officers wrote a citation and then took the cuffs off so he could sign it. He then "began to use obscene language," Johannes wrote, and began to resist after being ordered to put his hands behind his back. "S-1 had a minor scratch on his forehead as a result of the resisting," Johannes wrote.