Jonesboro, Arkansas Officer Arrested for Road Rage–and Gets a Second Investigation

Jonesboro, Arkansas police officer Garrett Thomason was arrested by Pocahontas police officers and Randolph County deputy last week, for pointing his service side arm at another driver, Jesse Baltz, and ran Baltz off the road. Baltz, who was able to get the license plate number off of Thomason’s vehicle, called 911, and Thomason’s vehicle was located a few minutes later.

Pocahontas officer Brian Tilghman* spotted the vehicle and stopped it. On questioning, Thomason claimed that he only showed the gun to Baltz. Unfortunately, his passenger said that he had pointed the gun at Baltz.

Just as a kind of tip, when the call comes out that the gun was pointed, when the complaint says that the gun was pointed, and when someone in your own car says the same thing, you’re pretty much done. So Tilghman arrested Thomason for aggravated assault. This is where it is going somewhat off the normal procedure.

If Thomason was just a mere citizen, that’s it, the case is filed, he hires an attorney, goes to court, and so on. But since he was a police officer, there’s a different procedure. First, his own department conducted an internal, administrative review to see if he violated policy or law, and needed to be disciplined or fired. I’m good with that, it needs to be done.

The part I have an issue with is that it was reported that the State Police would investigate the incident to see if a crime was committed. What the hell? What’s wrong with the officer who arrested Thomason? He had a call about road rage, had a complaining witness, had a suspect who admitted to showing the complainant the gun, and had a witness who was presumably favorable to the suspect state that he pointed the gun at the complainant.

If there was enough to arrest on, that is all you need. Type up the prosecution report and file the case. You don’t need to have a second criminal investigation on this–and do you really think that your average Joe Citizen would get a second chance? You would be laughed out of the DA’s office if you even requested the State Police investigate the case.

Thankfully it didn’t matter here. Thomason resigned as a police officer the next day. He had not even made it a year with the department. It remains to be seen if he will be charged criminally.


*I don’t know if Brian is related to the famed Bill Tilghman of Oklahoma legend, but will note that neither officer hesitated to arrest another cop who had broken the law.

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