An Arkansas police chief is facing a felony kidnapping charge.
Eudora Police Chief Michael Henderson Pitts, 45, was arrested Jan. 30 and is accused of illegally detaining a man, beating him and leaving him stranded, according to a Jan. 31 Arkansas State Police press release.
The alleged incident happened Oct. 26, when Pitts was dispatched to Scott’s Gas Station to remove a 49-year-old man who was reportedly causing a disturbance, according to an affidavit for arrest warrant.
Pitts arrested the man on charges of criminal trespassing, public intoxication and terroristic threatening, but said he was unable to take him to jail because the back seat of his patrol car was temporarily storing a vehicle bumper, investigators said.
Pitts said he removed his handcuffs, freed the man and warned him not to return to the gas station, according to the affidavit.
The man told police that as he was walking, he was handcuffed and put in the back seat of the patrol vehicle, according to the report.
While driving to a remote area, the man told investigators that Pitts said he was going to “beat his (expletive),” according to the affidavit.
The man told police Pitts proceeded to forcibly remove him from the car and “subjected him to a brutal assault, resulting in significant injuries to his face and head,” before abandoning him there, investigators said.
Analysis of Pitts’ cellular data placed him in the area at the time the man said he was brought there, according to the arrest warrant.
The man told investigators he found his hat the next day, which was left in Pitts’ patrol vehicle, near a dumpster of a mini market called Southern Sips Too, authorities said.
Surveillance footage reviewed by investigators captured Pitts stopping near the same dumpster the night of the kidnapping, police said.
Pitts surrendered to the Chicot County Sheriff’s Office Jan. 30 and was booked on a $5,000 bond, state police said.
He is due back in court for arraignment Feb. 26.
Attorney information for Pitts was not listed in court records as of Feb. 1.
McClatchy News could not reach the Eudora Police Department for comment on Feb. 1.
Eudora is about 150 miles southeast of Little Rock.