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Results of investigation into a citizen complaint against a Hazard Police Officer made public


Hazard, KY (June 24, 2016) - The City of Hazard, Kentucky announced today that its Police Department has completed an investigation of a citizen complaint made by Ms. Parmalee Mullins against one of its police officers, Officer Steve Everidge, stemming from a careless driving and DUI charge back on December 21, 2015.

Ms. Mullins and others in the community had protested her arrest for DUI and called for the City’s termination of the officer, and the results of blood testing taken at the time of her arrest showed no presence of alcohol or other intoxicating drugs or medications for which sampling is made.

After completing its departmental investigation, Police Chief Minor Allen made the determination that no disciplinary action should be taken against the officer arising from the arrest. The Hazard Police Department investigation of Ms. Mullins’s complaint has had a final disposition, and the results of that investigation are now public.

According to Chief Allen, “It is unfortunate that Ms. Mullins was forced to undergo the arrest, and the City Police Department is very sorry any time that any citizen is arrested when the end result of the prosecution is dismissal of the charge or a not guilty verdict, but a favorable outcome for Ms. Mullins does not automatically mean there has been a ‘false arrest’ by the police officer.”

Chief Allen went on to say that the investigating officer has offered to meet personally with Ms. Mullins and to present her with the full results of the investigation and the reasons he believes the police officer was justified in making the arrest.

According to Chief Allen, there may be a general misunderstanding of the standards under which a police officer must function. “A police officer’s role is not to be the ‘judge and jury,’ and the law does not require a police officer to have ‘proof beyond a reasonable doubt’ before making an arrest. Instead, a police officer should make an arrest whenever from the totality of facts and circumstances known to him he believes that probable cause exists to believe that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense.

Probable cause is a much different and lower standard of proof than evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.” In this instance, the investigation found that Officer Everidge and a police recruit riding with him at the time observed erratic driving by Ms. Mullins on a stretch of Highway 15 between the end of the Hazard Bypass and the entrance to Perry Park Road.

According to the Officer, he observed Ms. Mullins cross a median from the northbound lanes through a fifth turn lane and enter and travel a considerable distance in the wrong lanes of Highway 15 where she nearly collided with a southbound vehicle approaching from the other direction.

After she was stopped by the Officer, Ms. Mullins explained that she could not see clearly through her windshield because of rain and fog, and Ms. Mullins conceded during the course of the investigation that she could not make out the dividing lines on the highway that night. She also complained that her windshield defroster was malfunctioning.

BIGBARN Radio

 

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