$225000, accountability, Arkansas ACLU, brutality, comments, Dover AR, drug possession, Eva Robinson, excessive force, federal court, Holly Dickson, justice, Kristopher Stevens, Little Rock AR, lug, Matthew Robinson, not guilty verdicts, paraphernalia, police, Pope County AR, protect and serve, Robinson family, Ronald Robinson, self defense, settlement, standards office, Steven Payton, summary
Little Rock, Ark. — A $225,000 settlement was reached in federal court today between the Pope County Sheriff’s Department and Sgt. Kristopher Stevens in the Robinson family police brutality suit brought by the Arkansas ACLU.
The settlement was reached before the jury reached a verdict clearing Dover Deputy Marshall Steven Payton of the Dover, Ark., Police Department.
“What happened to our family can happen to anyone, anywhere anytime. And that needs to change,” Ronald Robinson husband of Eva and Matthew’s father said. “We knew it would be difficult to hold police accountable for what they did to our family, and while we are disappointed we were not able to find full justice here today, we are pleased that at least one of the officers and departments recognized wrong doing and we will continue to seek true accountability and professionalism in policing.”
Eva Robinson and her 16-year-old son Matthew were out walking their dog near their Dover home two years ago when they were accosted by Deputy Marshall Steven Payton who called for county backup and they were tazed, beaten and arrested under guise of drug possession and paraphernalia possession, which turned out to be a lug from Matthew’s father’s auto shop.
The jury was not instructed that the Robinsons had the right to self defense in response to excessive force directed at them by the officers.
ACLU legal director Holly Dickson said Arkansans need a statewide standards office that the public can turn to for help. “The police are supposed to protect and serve the public, but when they don’t they need to be held accountable.”
Since both officers involved in the charged brutality are still on the street, there is no agency to address wrongs since a report to the state standards agency is filed only after the officer is fired.
To view the full Arkansas ACLU summary and comments on this case, click Verdict Robinsons Dover Pope County FINAL.