EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) Evansville Police released bodycam footage after they say an officer was dragged by a vehicle after stopping to help a man who had flagged him down. The incident happened Monday around 11:30 a.m.
The man flagged down Officer Nathan Jones at Heidelbach and Diamond. He told Officer Jones he had just been in an argument with a woman and he wanted to leave before she returned. While Officer Jones was talking with the man, the woman, Maeling Smith, 18, returned and can be seen in the bodycam footage shouting at the man.
“Officer Jones was by himself this entire time,” says Evansville Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Nick Winsett, “I know he’s been in this situation, I’ve been in this situation, where if you don’t gain control right away, it gets worse rapidly.”
Jones tells Smith six times to get in her vehicle. After she got back in the car and shut the door, Jones tries to arrest her. In the video, we see him approaching her, opening the door, telling her to get out of the car and then grabbing her arm. Smith is heard screaming “get off me” as she remains in the vehicle.
It’s difficult to tell what happened next in the video, but we can see Jones is on the ground, he shouts out in pain, and the vehicle is now behind him. EPD says Smith dragged Jones several feet and that Officer Jones’ arm was run over.
Then in the video, Officer Jones approaches the vehicle with his gun, shouting at Smith to get out of the vehicle. She complies with the officer’s demands, and gets on the ground, crying, as Jones handcuffs her. We hear Officer Jones say he thinks his arm is broken.
“He felt, in his mind, and rightfully so, that if he did not place her in handcuffs, or some sort of control of her, this was going to continue. The back and forth yelling, screaming and all of that,” says Sgt. Winsett, “And again, in a domestic violence situation, it is dangerous for everyone involved.”
Another police cruiser arrives and takes over the arrest as Officer Jones walks away and is driven to the hospital by another officer. Jones must now have surgery on his wrist and will likely be out for the next few months.
Smith has been charged with battery against a public safety official and resisting law enforcement.
Watch the bodycam video below